Stop Playing on that Bloody Game Boy!

Lots of people know that I want to be a writer. Or rather, that I am a writer. After all, there’s no magical line that means you’re a writer only when you’re published, if you writer, you’re a writer.

There are two reactions that I remember the most though, that have stuck with me. Maybe because of what was said, maybe because of who said them.

My godmother, on a bus into town one day, told me I should get myself some work experience at the local paper if I really wanted to be a writer.

My gran said, in a way that only grans can, that if I was serious about being a writer, I’d be writing all the time and not ‘constantly playing on that bloody game boy’. I was still young, she meant the hand-held Nintendo console. There was no euphemism there.

I guess the reason that I remember them was because they’re wrong, and they were probably wrong because I didn’t explain it properly. I am not a writer. I  don’t have any interest in writing up the facts about a man who rescued a dog from the local canal, nor do I derive much pleasure from holding a pen and scribbling things down – although there is some satisfaction from seeing a page of A4 complete with thoughts, spilled from my own mind.

I’m a storyteller. I want to tell stories. I write fiction and I constantly see new plots in every part of my life.

There’s a magic in holding someone’s rapt attention by telling them something that only existed in your head prior to that moment. I love making things up and telling them to my cousins, I come up with ideas for television shows, plots for existing TV, stories and dialogue for all sorts of characters that live in my head.

Sometimes, I will retell a real event, but with the retelling, it gains embellishments, certain events may move because it makes for a better story. That’s why I couldn’t be a journalist – I’d probably be sued for misrepresentation of the facts.

Now, when I tell people I want to be a writer, internally I chastise myself, because I don’t want to be a writer. I need to be a storyteller.

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Seeking Immortality

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer when I grow up – apart from a brief period when I wanted to be car salesman, because I thought you got to keep all the money from each sale, and therefore, why wouldn’t you want to sell cars for a living? You could sell one, and then take a couple of months off. Seemed relatively simple to me. And I purposefully said when I grow up, because I can assure you, at 26, I’m nowhere near grown up yet. Although I’m old enough to have had to double check how old I was.

Asking myself now why I want to do that, though, it’s tricky to think of the answer. It’s been a part of me for so long, it’s like asking would I prefer to be called Alex, or Sebastian.

I’ve always liked the name Sebastian, and I think if I met a bloke called Sebastian, I’d probably be instantly attracted (and then start singing ‘Under The Sea’ at him) – but it’s not me. It’s not who I am.

Being a writer, wanting to write, is as much a part of me as my name is.

I remember thinking quite a while ago, that the reason I wanted to be writer was so that I could leave my mark on this world. You see it a lot in futuristic TV shows and films where Captain Picard is reading Shakespeare, and I think, how phenomenal would that be? To do something so brilliant, to achieve something so amazing that people are still talking about it eight hundred, nine hundred years later?

It’s the closest thing to immortality we have.

I find it hard to believe, though, that five year old me was concerned with such things, so there must have been something else.

I love language, I love the structure of language, and the composition of stories. There are famously, only seven basic plots, but look at how language can be used to tell these same stories over and over again in so many different ways, and still feel fresh and engaging. But I think this love of language, again has developed over time, it’s not origin of my love of writing, it’s a side effect.

All I can really put it down to is that growing up and reading Matilda, Scribble Boy and Mercedes Ice was fun. It was fun to read these books, and I soon learnt, it was fun to tell people stories.

A well put together story can give pleasure to so many different people, and the storyteller, gets a pleasure from seeing people enjoy their words.

That’s why I want to be a writer. That’s why I am a writer. It’s fun.

Welcome to my World

About eighteen months ago, I started a new blog that pretty much consisted of book reviews. I’d update it every now and then to tell the world just exactly what I thought about such important tomes as the Will Young biography and pretty much anything JK Rowling related.

Then, not too long ago, I was filling in another one of those interminable online dating profiles, and found myself listing ‘writing’ as one of my hobbies. And that’s when I realised… I don’t write anymore, not apart from those blog posts, which were coming few and far between.

I mean, sure, I wrote a few thousand words during NaNoWriMo last year – who didn’t? – but nothing since, and not a lot prior to that, either.

Life, that great procrastinator’s tool, has taken over, and stopped me from doing what I enjoy the most. It’s time for me to fight back, to start making sure I take some time to do the stuff that I like to do. The stuff that I want to do.

So that’s why this blog exists. Through this blog, I’m going to chart the difficulties I face within writing, difficulties that are both internal and external. It’s not for rest of the internet, it’s not for any record of prosperity, it’s for me.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want people to come on this journey with me, from averaging 10,000 words a year to successful writer – in whatever form that takes.

The first few blog posts of this I’ve pre-planned and will be short to medium length pieces, detailing everything about those famous six wise men (they taught me all I knew, their names were what, where, when, why how and who), but after that I’m kind of free-balling.

These are the ramblings of a(nother) frustrated writer… Buckle up, kids. I don’t know where this one’s going.