Goofs and Gadflies

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Words Are Very Unnecessary

I play with words. I trip the light fantastic with symbols and sylabic structures, and I bend the will of language to serve my whims. In this realm I put concepts into a fragrant bouquet of punctuation. I dance around the deep recesses of my brain, waltzing with the constant hum of my cortex. Writers know this feeling well. This power to create a literal landscape and draw the utterings of an imagination.

Ayn Rand is a writer. Sotting through Atlas Shrugged, I am agog with her abilities to paint the physical and emotional nuances of the terrain and characters in her book. Creating the images and logic behind a story is one thing. Being proficient enough in your craft to spin these stillbound words into a working, living novel is another thing all together.

I've been thinking about my writing. Does it torture me to do something that makes me happy, while pursuing a career in Sales and Corporate Relations? No, it does not. I am okay with writing as a hobby in the same way I looked to oenology and comic book collecting. But in those cases my pursuit of the hobby created some net gain. My 13 boxes of comics are worth thousands of dollars if I wanted to part with them. I have invested in wines and held them for five to ten years while they matured. This allowed me to drink wines that would have cost four or five times the amount I paid at their initial release.

So, what to do with this collection of words I have amassed? With three years of Livejournaling (which produced very little of substance anyway), years of poetry written during my University years, and a raft of private stories and conceptions, can I spin any of this into an income producing activity?

I am not going to stop writing if the answer above is "no". The labour of love which I set forth to every few weeks or so will continue anon. This question is a result of trying to measure the productivity of my day. Perhaps creativity cannot be measured any more than noting its abscence.

So, why do you write?


  • I noted creativity’s absence in myself. Well, maybe not absence, but it had taken a long hiatus. Whereas in the past I saw the world through a broad and creative lens, I was starting to bullet point my every experience into need-to-know nuggets. I’m writing to reconnect with my former creative self. I just hope we have not been estranged for too long.

    P.S.: I *love* “fragrant bouquet of punctuation.” And may I say, your commas smell divine.

    By Blogger Nadine, At 5:23 AM  

  • Your past writing in and of itself may never produce any income, but that's not to discount it at all. Consider your past writing as false steps, almost dead-ends on an evolutionary tree--it's all fits and starts, some atrocities, some beautiful mutations, some things that some people will find wonderful for what they are. But ultimately, the writing itself through many attempts will get better and bigger and stronger until you have your one main branch forging ahead (how many metaphors can I mix in here?). You could go back and try to resurrect some of your old ideas that never got off the ground, but I find that pretty hard to do. The worthwhile bits and pieces are still in your head and they'll make their way back in elsewhere if and when appropriate.

    Monetizing your writing? Hey, you never know. I certainly never thought I'd be writing a gossip column for a trade magazine (and it's still not what brings in my primary paycheck). My suggestion is pick up a Writers Market and read EVERY entry, even the seemingly boring ones, and you might find something that sparks both the creative and financial side of you (two suggestions? if you haven't, look for wine and comic book magazines).

    Why do I write? I quit worrying about it long ago ... partly because I'm lazy, I think.

    p.s. why you calling me dawson? :)

    By Blogger Ken Wheaton, At 7:28 AM  

  • Ken Dawson was a Comp Sci guy I knew bumping around on UseNet who got me through my Intro to CompSci course at Carleton University. How I ever learned to make a database is beyond me, but I have the B+ to prove it...

    Thanks for your words, something to conside. I did write "Rye's All Purpose Alcohol Review on a Newsgroup back in the 90's. But I never mastered the art of the article. I prefer the lush grass of prose to the manicured lawns of the 1000 word column.

    By Blogger Rye, At 9:25 AM  

  • I write because I have no choice. And if I didn't write, then no one would pay me, and I'd have to find another profession. Let me know if you'd like some advice about where to send stuff. Writer's Market is good, but sometimes a good brainstorming session with working writers (or polling one of the many writers groups on Yahoo or Ryze or whatever) can be just as if not more helpful...

    By Blogger Esther Kustanowitz, At 9:11 PM  

  • i find glee in a person who can openly appreciate the literary-phenom of Ayn Rand.

    that's all i need say.

    By Blogger scott., At 9:50 PM  

  • Unfortunatly, I don't share your appraisal of Ms. Rand, especailly what I consider to be the abonination of her psydo-philosophic claptrap, but she can use a comma, so I'll leave it alone.

    As for the writing, I never subscribed to that nonsense that my english teachers spouted at me ad naseum, pratteling on that your audience must be formost in your mind when putting pen to paper, or that unless it has a destination that the process itself was aimless. I've always been more inclined to feel that words themselves have life, and that they emerge together in forms like coral, forming under the surface of the subconcious, eventually cresting out onto the page or the screen. Writing is an organisim, and as much a wonderful mystery as any other.

    I write because if I didn't, something inside me would shrivel and die.

    By Blogger M. Spider, At 5:22 PM  

  • Writing? Oh ho -- that's what's been punching holes into my soul. I often wondered.

    (Stay away from magazines if you actually *like* writing. Seriously.)

    And why do I write? Simple -- I had no choice. And I'd be buggered if I tried to do anything else.

    The real question is why anyone writes -- I myself have often chalked it up to masochistic and narcissistic tendencies. I can't think of another field that so appeases elitist sensibilities, yet so completely sets us up for failure and self-criticism.

    By Blogger /hg, At 10:16 PM  

  • BTW, 'preciate the DM reference. Great song.

    By Blogger /hg, At 10:18 PM  

  • This is why you're a real writer.

    By Blogger industry whore, At 1:14 PM  

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