When I grow up, I want to be a writer.
No, seriously, I want to be a writer when I grow up.
Here are some of the problems:
I have somehow managed to acquire a meme that states that “real writers” are instantly successful and are discovered and become famous. This is not helped by certain people mentioning that some kid managed to get a lot of money for a book of poetry he wrote. What has apparently not occurred to those certain people is that the reason they heard about this on the news is because things like this DON’T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN.
There might be also a meme that states that “real writers” are not actually doing “work,” because they just make stuff up unless they are journalists. (And even then, journalists also just make stuff up.) I like to write fiction but I do not come up with “original material” very often and have trouble getting a plot off the ground. When I do get a plot off the ground, I never seem able to end it. If one more person tells me “everyone has a story,” I may go ballistic.
I am awfully good at talking myself out of writing. I get frustrated when something is going well or working right with whatever it is I’m working on. I get impatient because everything isn’t easy and automatic. (And somehow, I think that everything should work automatically instead of taking time because that was the kind of attitude I experienced growing up: there is no “skill” or “training” you just automatically should know how to do something with at the most a brief explanation and if you don’t catch on fast enough you’re stupid. It does not help that I am a very slow learner and am guaranteed to do something the wrong way the first few times.)
I have also had a few traumas concerning my writing:
I had a dean who handled disabled student *accessibility issues ever so gently inform me that writers don’t make a lot of money generally (which I already knew) and that just because my therapist made me keep a journal, that didn’t mean my writing was good. (Oddly enough, I’ve never had a therapist tell me to keep a journal. The only therapeutic journaling I ever did was in grade school and I mostly drew dragons in it, and later when I was in college I also had to keep a class journal. I would have been better off drawing dragons in that one two because the journal mostly served as a nuisance.)
In high school, I was in a journalism class. I did not actually want to be in a journalism class because I knew being in a journalism class meant talking to people. It was a very close knit group and I was the odd duck out, and just in general a complete freak. I could not interview people because I could not write fast enough, could not come up with good questions on the fly and in general had meltdowns when I became confused or upset. On one occasion, the very foolish journalism teacher sent me to observe the student council. No one apparently told the students on the student council that I was there to observe them and they did not recognize that I had a pass. I had a meltdown and ended up having to write an apology letter.
I would have liked to have written book reviews but according to the student editor, no one at the school read science fiction or fantasy, or indeed, read for entertainment. I would have liked to do opinion pieces. However, I accidentally referred to them as “editorials” when I meant opinion pieces so the student editor said no because I was not an editor. Sadly, even if I had said the correct term I probably still wouldn’t have been allowed to do that because I was obviously a freakish moron without a decent opinion. Somehow, I ended up with neither a passing grade or a failing grade for that class.
I have a vague, vague grade school era memory of a grade school teacher who apparently entered my grade school poetry in some kind of contest. The rest of the memory is so vague that I think it might actually have been a nightmare related to the memory. In this memory, I had apparently won a prize for the poetry, but when “Dad” took me to where it was, nobody ever called my name or said what I’d won. I was accused of lying about it, and dragged out of the building. (The memory doesn’t make a lot of sense. I blame anxiety and a general dislike of that particular teacher. And nightmares.)
I had an idiot creative writing teacher who told me not to have a character in a medieval setting refer to someone as “my lord,” because the reader would think that I was talking about Jesus. Or something. This alone would not be annoying enough to make me hate him. He also liked my (very, very bad) **poetry and gave me an A on a paper that was at least one third baloney. He also liked to refer to Native American culture as “dead” when there were actual Native Americans in the room, which made him particularly horrible…and stupid.
Obviously, none of this stops me from writing, or at least, not for very long. If all else fails, I can write about not being able to write.
*This was during one of the rare times when I was trying to address my learning disability issues officially. I do not actually have a diagnosis, or if I do have one my parents couldn’t be bothered to tell me or keep any of the documentation.
**I don’t feel he was very good at critiquing my work in general and he had a horrifying fondness for my more angst-ridden pieces.