Archive for December 12th, 2010

On Writing

As promised, a real blog post today!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories in my head. My mother still has “books” that I wrote when I was in elementary school (I remember one was about mermaids, and another one was about a family of rabbits). I remember bits and pieces of a story I started writing in middle school, that was never finished. I have many, many half-done stories lying around my hard drive, and even more story ideas that never got written up. I have stories based on ideas I had after reading a book or watching a movie. I have stories based on dreams (quite a few, as I’ve had some strange and alluring dreams). I have fantasy and sci-fi stories, “real life” fiction stories, and even one or two horror/mystery stories.

And that’s not even touching on the incredibly rich fantasy world I have inside my head. I’ve always had a very good imagination (see aforementioned paragraphs about stories) and growing up, we moved around enough that I didn’t make friends easily. Even when I made a friend, I would just end up losing them when we moved, so the majority of my playtime was spent with imaginary playmates. It wasn’t long before I started using characters I’d seen in movies or read in books instead of original characters, because it meant less time crafting the person I was interacting with and more time playing with them. In essence, I was writing fanfiction in my head long before I ever went online and discovered what it was. XD It became such a huge part of my life that as I grew, I started depending on these fantasies for comfort and interaction when I was feeling lonely. My mother would sometimes come into a room and ask me if I’d been talking to myself, and I was just old enough to feel embarrassed about my fantasy people and make an excuse. In fact, they became so much a part of me that not only did they go with me wherever I went, I began to feel like they were watching me all the time. A few years ago, I started referring to them as my shadows. That is, in essence, what they are. They’re reflections of me that I cast out into the world, and interact with as I might a real person, although I’m perfectly aware that they’re not real. Being shadows, they’re infinitely malleable, and can take on any persona I choose. Some of them have stayed fairly constant over the years, while others change shape weekly, or even daily, as I will it. Of course, I never actually see any of them. I’ve never gone far enough to have visual or auditory hallucinations of these imaginary beings, and I hope I never do.

I digress. The point of this post is that stories, and writing, have been a very large part of my life ever since I was a young child. When I discovered the internet, and blogging, and fanfiction, I felt like it had all been created just for me (give me a break, I was 14). I’ve had a blog in one way or another since I was in high school, and I’ve been sharing my prose writings online for even longer. I shudder to remember some of the things I wrote back then, but I console myself with the thought that if I didn’t have all that practice, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I hope I get a lot more practice in the future, because I definitely don’t consider myself anywhere near as good as I could be. I try not to compare myself to other writers, because I’m never going to be them, and there are so many different styles of writing out there that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Sure, I’m never going to be a Catherynne M. Valente or a Ferrett Steinmetz or a Marianne Kirby. But I think I have it in me to be a pretty damn awesome Chelsea Black (or even Chelsea E. Black, depending on how I feel when my first thing gets published).

The thing is, even if I never have anything I’ve written get published, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. I’m still going to be writing for the rest of my life, whether anyone wants to read it or whether I get paid for it or not. I don’t really have any choice in the matter. It would take a great effort for me to stop writing. Some days I feel like I have an allotment of words, and once that allotment is used up, I can’t write any more. Other days, I feel like I could write for hours and hours and never feel tired of it. And it doesn’t have anything to do with inspiration at all, it’s largely based on my energy level, mood, and events of that day.

Writing is easy, in terms of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys, more accurately for me) and forming words and sentences. It’s infinitely harder to write well enough to get ideas and feelings across. Even if you succeed in making your reader feel something, it may not be what you intended at all. It’s an imperfect medium, but so are all the others we have for communicating. I maintain the opinion that until humanity develops telepathy (or some kind of implant that wires us into each other’s thoughts), there will always be some degree of misunderstanding. So all efforts in writing not only go toward becoming a better artist, but also to becoming a better communicator. And I think those are admirable goals, myself.

Now, as it’s snowing like crazy outside, I am going to make myself some hot chocolate and enjoy a nice relaxing movie with knitting. Thanks for reading my post. ❤


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