Somehow, somewhere, I hit 15,000 views over the weekend. This is obviously due to the fact that I made excessive use of the word “vagina” on Friday, as no other explanation makes any good goddamn sense whatsoever.
I can’t think of a more schizophrenic blog than mine. I mean I’ve written posts with themes as varied as video games, television and film, writing, zombie preparedness, LARPing, the occasional double-barrel shotgun blast of political bullshit, how my cats are assholes, and regular forays into the landscape of my sick mind, all served fresh every morning at 7 AM, and yet people keep reading this. I don’t know if that says more about me as the author or all of you as readers.
At the same time, I will readily admit that churning out a constant stream of content, even if it’s just mostly invective, has done wonders for the quality of my writing. Yes, I’m drawing a direct correlation to anal sex jokes and the word “quality,” but I worked hard on that piece, dammit, and I’m fucking proud of it.
Writing is funny; it’s one of the few things that you can get better at without practice. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t practice if you’re interested in becoming better, of course -it’s just that the longer you live and the more you experience, the better you’ll eventually become at recounting your adventures to others. If you’re looking to do it professionally, you’re not going to get away with that, however, so don’t think you can just sit on the couch, occasionally wipe the Cheetos dust off on your sweatpants, and Jersey Shore marathon your way to a career as a writer – you’ve got to sit yourself down and actually produce something on a regular basis.
And don’t give me any shit about writer’s block, either. Yeah, you may not have any ideas in your head for where you’re going to go in a current piece you’re writing, but you can’t let that stand in your way. Don’t be afraid to bang out a couple hundred words on your keyboard, just to highlight and delete it the next day because it’s garbage. Even though it feels like you’re losing progress, you’re gaining experience – and you’re flexing your writing muscles. That’s more valuable than moving a stalled plot along.
If you find you can’t power through it, start something new instead. Challenge yourself. Stretch your capabilities and try to take a couple of steps outside your comfort zone. Switch tracks and get a fresh perspective. If you tend to write scenes with heavy dialogue, try something with little to no conversation instead – or vice-versa if you’re not one of those garrulous, long-winded Kevin Smith types. Find your way to a random Wikipedia page and see if something there sparks some interest for a short story, or even just a quick scene. Most of all, let yourself just mess around with no pressure or performance anxiety, but do something. Don’t let it go, don’t write it off, don’t say, “well I’ll just pick it up tomorrow.”
Procrastination is the death knell of the creative mind. Consistency is key, not quality – even if 6 days a week you’re producing 500 words of pure bullshit, that 7th day you’re going to come out with something pretty good because you’ve been at it tirelessly. Besides, if you’re not willing to work like a dog in order to make yourself better at something you love, what the fuck are you doing with your life?