On Writing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about the process, and many struggle of writing

Submitted: January 09, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 09, 2017



There's the famous Hemingway saying about his advice for prospective writers; something along the lines of, "Don't ask a writer to read and critique what you've written, because if it sucks, they'll hate it, and if it's good, they'll hate it even more." Another saying goes, "You never become the writer you wish to be, but over time you get infinitely closer to a voice that is at least acceptable."

Before putting pen to paper, you are the great writer. You have the voice and the ideas and uniqueness to write the greatest story ever told, the one that will change the entire landscape of literature.

And then you start, and you feel the self-consciousness setting in, and when you get it done it just feels...


You look back at it and realize you've just written a redundant, narrow thought piece based around an over used quote, or a rambly massive thing that never quite hits on any of the points that you were thinking about when you started, but ehhh, maybe it ended up good enough and you're really deeper than you think, because you are re-reading your own writing so its really hard to tell, and you're probably just over-thinking it.


Pretty good. At second glance your feeling good about it all; deep, good word use, smart sounding; maybe not quite life changing, but solid. They'll get how smart you are.

*5 minutes later*

Your aunt comments on it and says something like, "really nice, Kevin." Fuck.



She thinks its cute, like "oh good, Kevin's trying to write something. Gooood. Maybe he'll be a big famous author someday!"

You wrote something brilliant goddammit! Not something "nice."

You spent all this time thinking about the depth and the beauty of what you were saying in your review, and all she has to say is, "Nice!?!?!"

And now she's got you thinking about it, and your thinking: why are you writing reviews anyway? You had this big inspirational moment and you chose to write a review? About this stupid shark movie that some people liked and most people don't give a shit about? What's wrong with you?

But it was soo infuriating. The thing was awful, and people actually liked it. That just can't stand.

So you wrote your piece, and now people give it a glance, think "ehh, alright," and move on.


You have this huge warehouse of ideas and thoughts that you're trying to get out there, that you're working on, the Taj Mahal up here, and you open up a little window in the back office, just to let a breeze in, maybe leave a bit of knowledge pie on the sill and see if anyone wants to come in and look, and then they just stick their big fat fucking head all the way in, look around the office with the desk and that symbolic green door, and the bookshelf with that curious leaning volume of Secret Passageways and the allegory and the metaphors and they just say, "well this is, niiicccee," and they pull their fat fucking heads out and carry on their stupid way with their stupid ass life. All the while you're left here about to fucking explode because why. the hell. did you choose to use your one shot at exposure, the one thing you write that they'll probably ever read, to write about that stupid fucking shark movie.

Now you're sitting here, banging your head on the wall reading over the thing and you're realizing that you only analyzed like two parts of the damn movie, and where's your sense of humor? How did you not get that the thing was just supposed to be fun? 


Goddammit, you're mister serious now; like an angry fucking teenager trying to sound edgy and tear down these money grabbing Hollywood blockbusters. "Oh Kevin likes to write about serious stuff, no nonsense." You're the guy with the stick up his ass about movies with stupid plots that are just enjoyable to watch. Everything you write.

And now there's that stoner guy sitting in the corner, who decides to chime in now, of all times, "why do care so much man? Like, it's just a movie, relax."

And the crowd, half of whom weren't even listening anyway is like, "ya know, Kevin always does have that condescending tone in his writing, like, why are you trying to tell us what movies we should or should not like anyway? Lay off dude. I actually liked Blake Lively in that role, and hey, remember when you were shitting on Johnny Depp in that other thing?"

"I do, man," says the stoner dude.

"Johnny Depp?!?" Jesus Christ man, have you seen the roles he played? Why you gotta be so harsh?

And now everyone's chattering and walking away and you're trying to chime in that you love Edward Scissorhands, it's one of your favorite movies, and you're really an easygoing guy, you like comics and superheroes and all that, its just that you're really self-conscious about you're writing and your tone tends to overcompensate for it all, but they're walking away, they don't care anymore. No one wants to listen to Mister Hot Takes.

So now you've kind of fallen off that whole movie thing and when your sweet Auntie pulls you aside at the Christmas party and asks if you're still writing you tell her "kind of, some stuff, working on it." But you really don't want to say that you've been trying to write these short stories now, and they seem brilliant when you start and for just a second each time you think, "hey, maybe I can write a few good ones of these and get my name out there. I'll just start with this one, maybe 10, 15 pages and done. Short, concise, smart, not overly wordy or condescending like that other stuff. This'll be great." And you start and you write a sentence and you write another word and you're rolling along and...and...and...

Where's this damn thing going?

You have this beautiful story about a writer who lives his whole life on this little rock island right off the coast of his, well your, town, and he can never leave and never stay cause he hates it sooo much, but this draw, this inescapable draw...

And its supposed to be this big, deep meditation on small town life and longing and doom and depression and the writer is eventually going to be just washed away, but...but...

Why are you still describing the old amusement park and the coastline of town? Get to the writer, his daily activities, his internal monologue and all that. But...

I mean, you can't just leave this town description like this. It's nonsensical. If this is going to be any different than the other short stories, something that you're not just going to give up on, then well, you need to make each part great, and simple, and flowing and nice before you get going.

So you sit, and sit. You have this very basic description of the coast and the park, but you keep stopping and going and it just isn't coherent, its like all these different tiny little segments that are mashed together one after another. And you expect people to read this? These, words? and they're going to like it?

So you sit, and sit until you're at the point of throwing the whole damn thing out, Fuck IT!

But no, you've gotta keep going with it, stick with it if you're ever going to be a writer. Then...


So you type and type, describing the houses and the old bleachers in the park, the coastline and the history of the town and the trains that used to come through and this and that and boom! One whole chapter!

Then you go back and start reading and it's okay, doesn't make much sense here, needs some rearranging there, but okay, a start. You can do this, this is writing. You are writing!

Then over the next week you write down some notes in your notebook, listening to Miles Davis while you do so, and feeling really inspired, smart. You can see the tone and the storyline all unfolding and it's going to be great, a real, maybe not earth-shattering, but real, solid debut novel.

Hey, everyone's gotta start somewhere right?

Then the next week passes, and you don't have so many notes, it's just not the right feel right now. You're waiting on your inspiration.

And you keep waiting.

But now you look at, and the stories still there, but you really only wrote like 5 pages.

Ha! You thought you were this big writer all of a sudden because you made an outline and a few pages of some incoherent nonsense. Pfft! Weren't you the guy writing those shark movie reviews everyone hated a few months ago? LOL.

So you shelf the thing for a bit. You'll get back to it.

You start posting some stuff on Reddit here and there. It's not much, but its anonymous, a way to get writing and be seen, and also not be seen.

You post some little think pieces, something to get the general audience going a bit, something different. It's going well, actually.

But then you misstep.

Somewhere along the line you make the mistake of getting a little overconfident, you post something a little too preachy, too cute.

They crucify you.

Oh no, oh no, oh no. You can never come back here now. They'll know you as the guy who posted that post. Who everyone hated. Damn.

And what if the Reddit people end up being some of the real people you know? One of which read the shark review, and they don't think about it much at first, just this faint familiarity, this faint...hatred. But then they start thinking, "I know that voice, that condescending stick up his ass voice. Wait a minute..." And they know.

They figure it out and they CALL YOU OUT BY NAME ON REDDIT!!

Your worst nightmare.

Everyone dismisses you. You change your account, but now they're all onto you. They catch you switching accounts and up voting yourself. It's a nightmare. You're a pariah.

Now you don't know where to hide, what to write. What if you go back to your book and it gets published and its a doing well, a best seller even, something that they're writing about in those end of the year lists in the New York Times; and then someone reads it and they're like, "Hey, its this ass hole again!" and then you're Dan Brown, and you have fame and money but everyone knows you're a hack, and you never wanted this, you didn't want to be hot take guy, or the contrarian, or smarter than you, or anything else, you just wanted to be you, and write from your voice. You wanted to write something true and smart, to be the great author. And its all ruined.

But you aren't going to give up. You decide to make an effort to cut out all the shit, all the gimmicks in your writing. To just write the simple, basic thoughts that come to your head. You think, "hey, maybe it'll be boring, maybe I suck at writing. But maybe, maybe just the simple, basic stuff in my head, all written out, will be brilliant, or at least interesting to a few people; that'd be nice."

But where to start?

Gotta start small. A blog maybe, not like the movie review blog, not something that derivative. Just a sort of formless, continuous stream of your thoughts and stories (if that's what you think about), just whatever occupies your mind at any given time.

This could be something unique.

Something interesting.


But not too fast, you'll take it slow. A post here and there and see if anything comes from it.

Okay. Good.

So now what's first...maybe you start with something about the struggle of writing...

Hey, yeah! That's relatable.

And maybe you open it up with some reinforcement from something people can get behind, like, maybe a quote from someone respected, like Faulkner, or...

© Copyright 2020 KevinsThoughts. All rights reserved.

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