Write Wrong 1: Welcome Quitters!

Hello, fellow person putting off writing!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in writing, or reading. You want to maybe learn how to do it. There’s a million books on how to write well. Not so many on what you and I both know you’re going to do before you write well: Write Wrong.

Sure, instead of “write well”, I could’ve said Write Right, but I didn’t. Just let it go. I thought about it, and it was too easy.

Ask yourself what do you want to do? Write books? Or Sell books?

If you want to write, then go on, stop getting around to it, go write. Nobody will judge what you wrote, and it’ll be a great thing to see how you can make a thing out of an idea. Honest, go on.

I did that. My first novel was called Invasion of the Bootysnatchers. I’ll talk about Bootysnatchers a lot in my blog. It’s when I discovered that it’s okay to write wrong. Well – to be clear, once I finished my second book, I discovered that it was okay that I wrote wrong all over that first one.

You want to sell books? Books that you write? First, you’re going to go ahead and want to write. But the difference here is knowing, up front, that you’re going to write wrong. A lot. Not probably, definitely.

But that’s okay. That’s a part of your story, and it should be.

Before I go much further, I’ll tell you my story, and I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible; there’s just so much to share.

I am a creative. I used to say I was an artist, but that kind of excluded my music, and now my writing, even though both are forms of art. Artist implies a visual thing; you’re painting, drawing, designing visually. But I simultaneously fell in love with art, music, movies, stories, hell, anything that begins with “let’s pretend there’s a situation…”

I’ve maintained that love, albeit sloppily, over my entire life. At various times I was fully immersed in painting and illustration, then I discovered the Stones and there was only music for awhile, guitars, singing, drums, keys, hell, I even played trombone for awhile.

And then I fell in love with movies. The old monster movies in particular. In the library, I found a book that took James Whale’s Frankenstein and made it into a shot-by-shot picture book, so I could look at each frame as a great photograph, and ignore all that typed stuff beneath it.

But really all of these things happened at the same time; loud music, wild paintings and sculptures, and movies.

Writing, however was a chore. Why? It was schoolwork. I never kept a journal, never wrote unless it was assigned. Hell I rarely read unless the words were captions in the latest issue of Spiderman.

And then I read ‘Salems Lot, sometime around 9th grade.

Don’t worry I’m going to get past all of this, you just need to get an idea where I’m coming from.

Mr. King, (I STILL can’t remember if it’s Stephen or Steven, sorry) wrote about monsters, and he had characters who cussed, and good guys who’d do bad or stupid things sometimes.

Did ALL of these things exist before Mr King? Of course they did. Was I aware of it? No. I was not.

Despite my love for ‘Salem’s Lot, I did not go on a reading binge in the same way I undertook the complete Stones back catalog or any Friday Night Fright movie I could catch on the TV. Reading hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve got ADD, and unless it’s something I know I’m going to love, it’s damn-near-impossible to read.

To be honest, I’ve received love letters in high school that I couldn’t bother to finish. “Blah blah you like me, I get it, are we going to make out or what?”

So for most of my life, I’ve been an artist and a musician. And a huge fan of the movies that I loved.

You starting to get it yet? If I knew I was going to love it, I’d love it. If I didn’t know anything about it, or even had my doubts, it might as well not exist.

For example: how did my father get me to read Orwell’s 1984? He told me it had a sex scene. I was fifteen, don’t judge.

So – as long as the creativity was spontaneous – a doodle, or a noodle on a guitar, (I could’ve said that cooler I bet) or just some thing that was a quick throwaway to illustrate a much deeper innate talent that required no nurturing or training, hell I was all over it.

My folks sent me to art class. My dad taught me guitar. Didn’t take. It always had to be something I knew I would do, and would do well.

No point in doing it if it’s going to suck, right?

Wrong. And that is the basis for this blog.

Write Wrong.

There are huge gigantic benefits to doing something that’s going to suck. Not everything is going to go on display, not everything creative must be presented to an audience. And honestly – call me an egotistical bastard, but I always did things for the purpose of showing them to somebody.

Maybe that’s an ADD thing? Or maybe I’ve just been a self-absorbed asshole for the entirety of my life. I’d bet that’s it. (Get the joke there? Because I bet it has to do with me? See how I just pointed it out for you? Kind of scary ain’t it?)

So sure, maybe you aren’t like me. You don’t think your turds have a rosy bouquet, you don’t imagine that everything you do will be amazing. Fine. I can accept that. If that’s the case, then I invite you to read how I learned to be more like you, and less like me. Learn from my mistakes, but accept that you’re probably going to make a lot of them as well, for very very different reasons.

I thought I knew everything, including when to not waste time on something as foolish as lessons or studies or assignments. Don’t worry – I won’t give you any writing assignments, they probably wouldn’t help you anyway; you are going to do it your way first. You should. You will. And who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a lot of people who took up writing and pinched out a perfect book on their first try?

Do you think that’s going to be you? Because I sure as hell did.

So here’s your takeaway from this first post, since I didn’t even get to finish my story.

You want to be a writer? You think you can do it better than most of the crap out there? Go ahead and get started now. You are better. You’ll be great. Just do me a favor… that first time when you hate what you wrote and think you should quit before anybody gets hurt? Don’t. Just keep writing the shit. Pull out all the stops, throw in the worst crap you can think of to make it all that much the worse. Even write bad grammar and make no damn sense at what you’re trying to say.

The good news is that you’ll come out the other side of it, and you’ll appreciate just how wrong you wrote.

One last side note. I’m going to go back and edit these posts and make them better. But for now if I stop to edit, or even use that as a reason to hesitate, I’ll never write more on the subject. So forgive how horrible I’ve written this; by the time my book becomes a best-seller, this will all be cleaned up and revised. See? Another quick lesson from me, just for you.