I recently went to my first writers conference (virtually). What did I learn? I’m a shitty writer.
Not just because there were tons of talented people on stage and even more talent hammering away at the chat box. Talent I could never hope to reach.
Not just because many of those “real” writers have filled the stores with their books and garnered millions of eyeballs on the Twitter and the Facebook.
It’s because my “process” is shitty.
Almost every session focused on persistence and motivation and work ethic. Strangers to this Bullshit.
I leaned what SFD means… Shitty First Draft. Actually, this was the “Erma Bombeck” writers workshop and these midwest nice people could not bring themselves to say the word “Shitty”. They euphemized their way around it the way the New York Times won’t call Trump a racist.
But after a few seconds of hemming and hawing, I finally figured out what put the S in S—– First Draft. Not quite my tribe, but at least tribe adjacent.
Then came the talk of research, revisions, phases, passes, beta readers, agents and editors. All part of the greater “writing process.”
I submitted a short piece for a peer review. The session leader, a talented writer who has been published in the New York Times, generously gave a group of us about 5-minutes of feedback on each piece. We got the rare chance to learn from each other, and from her.
Her feedback to me.
“More setup, more context. Slow down. It went too fast and I had trouble keeping up.”
Good advice. Did I listen? Fuck No.
I spent the afternoon wishing I had typed in the chat. “Read Slooowweeerrrr”. But I didn’t. I think too slow and the session was over before that bit of brilliance crossed my brain.
As my readers probably already know, there’s no “process” to this Bullshit. Something makes me feel an emotion — usually anger mixed with regret — and it gets slammed into this site in mere minutes.
But that’s the point. The rest of my life is edited, revised and compromised by all those around me. The wife makes sure I watch what I say around the Savages. My co-workers give me “constructive feedback” on almost everything I say or do. Even the dog makes faces if I don’t get her vest on just right.
I’m not looking for a book deal or to “find an audience.” I’m not researching and adjusting and perfecting my prose so others will “enjoy” it.
I’m flipping my shit out into the universe and hoping to find another 10 people who want to tune in for their own sense of release or relief.
It’s therapy on WordPress. You could be part of the group that has to wade through my bullshit until it’s your turn to talk. But in this session, you never really get a turn.
You could be one of the few and throw in a comment or two. But you’d be better off starting your own therapy in your own blog. I’ll follow you, if you follow me…
Together we can cut out the middle-man therapist and save ourselves the trip to the church basement for the self-help group.
So yeah, I’m a shitty writer. But I’m happy to stay that way.
Categories: Bullshit Blogging