Thursday, May 7, 2009

Being Lazy and Insecure

The problem with yearning to be a writer is a love of reading.

All good writers read - this is something which countless authors have said in countless interviews.

Yet I think one of the problems with my own writing is my love of reading.

I have been wanting to be a writer of some sort since I was in elementary school. I remember sitting in my fourth grade classroom, reading an R.L. Stine "Fear Street" book, thinking to myself, I could write something like this. Then, I would write snippets of the story I was creating in my head, and they did sound like imitation-Stine.

When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a short play about some princess who liked to sing or something (I was very into musicals), and showed it to my teacher, who pretended it was good.

When I was in middle school, I wrote the beginnings of countless stories, and began touting the theory that I didn't like poetry. "There is so much bad poetry out there already," I said to myself, smugly (I was a very smug middle school student). "Why would I want to add to it?" I received the "promising young writer award" or something like that, and my response was - "Of course."

In high school, I wrote a 79 page story about a vampire and a witch who are vying for the same boy's attention, filled with my "insights" into high school life. Then, I took a creative writing class, where I was forced to write poetry for ten weeks, then hurried through writing sketches, a one-act play, and a short story. My teacher liked me and my writing. But I was beginning to feel a sense of disappointment with myself.

As I grow older, my writing, past and present, seems worse. I don't think it actually gets worse, but I think that it doesn't get better, fast enough.

And as I read better and better works of literature, I am no longer capable of rolling my eyes and saying, "I could do that." I'm more prone to sighing wistfully, and saying, "I would give anything to one day write something as great as that."

As my reading grows, so does my opinion of a good book. I'm now in my twenties, and I feel like my writing should be coming more easily, now. I should have better first drafts, or be better at revising them. The ideas in my mind should fall more easily on the page. My understanding of human behavior shouldn't be so naive.

Ultimately, I should be able to write something I would want to read.

Nothing I write, unfortunately, is very good. It's okay. It's better than some of the writing out there. I could post it on the internet, and feel safe in the knowledge that it's not the worst thing out there. Yet, I don't. It may be good enough to get a few reads on the internet, but is it good enough to be published? Is it written well enough to deserve readers? I don't know. I doubt it.

It's so hard to write something, and not feel like I'm wasting my time.

It's so much easier to curl up with a book that's well-written. To become lost in a world that someone else created.

And so, you see - it is my avid reading that has inspired a decrease in my writing. There is such better writing out there than anything falling from my pen, or keystrokes. And it's just so much easier to read what others have done than to create something of my own.

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