Every now and again it's helpful to ask oneself why one does the things they do. Recently, I found myself asking myself why I actually blog, and more particularly, why I comment on other blogs. I encourage you to skip this post, actually. It's not about epistemology or consciousness or potency or any of the more stimulating things we've been talking about these past weeks. I just needed to think some stuff out, and figured, why not do it in public? [weird little interview with myself follows]
In Part One we left off with the idea that there are many illusions a writer might face throughout various stages of his or her career. I discussed a few areas in which I believe I achieved some introductory success as a writer, and not to embellish those achievements. The point was to establish a small amount of success to show that even a small amount of success can lead to all kinds of obfuscations and illusions for a writer.
So you got a book deal and you're in Barnes & Noble? Produced some television? Saw your name on the big screen, maybe? Perhaps the most painful illusion related to success is that success is guaranteed to recur. It's not. Another major illusion is the idea that success will never happen at all. Keep plugging away. Another illusion is that success is guaranteed to happen in a certain way, or in the way we expect, or the same way as before, and it's quite easy to get discouraged because what one defines as "success" comes too slowly or with too much effort. Think outside the box. Although hard work tends to pay off in general, success is not something the writer can always predictably control. Paradoxically, the only guarantee with success as a writer is that there are no guarantees with success in writing!
*from The Potrero View
"As a bird needs to fly… People need to walk,” Bogotá, Columbia’s former mayor Enrique Peñalosa is supposed to have said, in reference to that city’s weekly Ciclovia, during which 90 miles of roads are closed to automobiles. On Ciclovia, held on Sundays and holidays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., an estimated two million people take to the streets to recreate, dance and participate in cultural gatherings.
Ciclovia – “bike path” in Spanish – is a simple concept: create a car-free zone for people to use. Cyclists, skaters, skateboarders, joggers, strollers and recreational enthusiasts of all types are encouraged to participate, free of charge.
If you are a writer who takes your work at all seriously, I cannot overemphasize the importance of this post. I found a maize-colored, folded-up piece of paper a few years back that I couldn’t assign to any particular source, but the words were so powerful and relevant to writing that I kept it. I don’t know who wrote it. I’m posting it here not only because I think every so-called writer needs to refer to it several times annually for at least five years, but also in the hopes that somebody might know where the little gem came from at all.
So I made some changes to the blog. Some of them, like the generic SF skyline header, might be obvious. Other changes might not be so obvious. For example, limited HTML is now allowed in comments. This means you can use various tags to format your comments and include links.
Also, nearly all TWIM posts addressing arguments relating to science, religion and society have been moved to a blog of their own. Posts on this new blog will still be alerted to the regular TWIM readership. In a similar vein, posts relating to my volunteer work with the city of Ventura have also been moved to a blog of their own, and if any readers wish to subscribe to this blog, they must do so independently as updates will not be alerted to the regular readership of TWIM.
Part of the reason for this is that I felt the arguments pertaining to science, religion and society will tend to overpower the theme of a blog. Although I enjoy such arguments, they are not the central focus of my writing, which is creative or intuitive and not singularly scholastic. A post about farts my seem out of place between posts debating the cogency of the various ontological arguments. Another reason is that I decided I wanted to begin including photographs and imagery in my posts. I refrained from doing so previously because I did not want to detract in any way from the arguments. The reader will notice the similar lack of visual imagery at the TowardsClarity site, which is to preserve focus upon the arguments. This is not to say that we don’t appreciate the talented Dale Dreiling, whose illustrations used to grace the columns of TWIM. Now that TWIM will include visual imagery, you’ll notice an "Art" category and you can expect to see lots of good artwork from all sorts of people.
*This is the first installment of a series on common illusions beginning writers might face. This first post summarizes my career as a scribe to date and serves as backstory; as such it can be skipped and if you want to get straight to the illusions, proceed to part II.
The first time I got paid for writing was in 2000. The father of this friend of mine wanted to write a letter to someone but felt he just didn't quite know what to say, so he paid me $50 to write it for him. I photocopied the money and saved it. It was a weird feeling, a confirmation of a brave idea, a dream come true, an answered prayer, a life-changing event…all these cliche's and much, much more. It was just a year or so earlier I realized I was a writer, and that meant I had an obligation to earn a living from the craft.
Although I’ve been a member of the very adult-like Writer’s Guild of America, West for seven years now, I’m undeniably, unquestioningly and unabashedly a kid at heart. A kid’s main motivation is often enjoyment, and I can’t stand the intensely stolid seriousness and false sense of urgency most adults needlessly assign to their careers, most of which are just meaningless peach fuzz on the buttocks of life’s grander scheme.