On Writing with Nothing to Say

Why do I desire to write when I have nothing to say? Or, rather, why do I have something to say when I don’t desire to write? I constantly find myself in one of these two camps as a writer. Sometimes, such as right now, I desire to write. I open up my works of fiction in progress, then quickly close them. “Oh yeah. I don’t know how to write. The fiction that I’ve written up to this point isn’t very good, and I still haven’t even fixed those. Why would I start something new?” So I make a note, to remember to do the new idea eventually, open up the current works in progress that need to be fixed, and then think “Oh yeah; this sucks”, and then close it out.

Then I try to find other things to occupy my time. Music, video games. Anything but writing. Or, at least, if I do write, it needs to be something simple, and easy. Like a status update on Facebook or Twitter. Then, when I desire to write things that have more meaning, I think of all of the writers of history, and all of the writers of today. “Oh yeah. There’s a lot of people that have had things to say. And I haven’t read them. Surely those writers are much better than I. So why don’t I spend time reading them instead of writing myself?” And so, I read a little. I read what I’m interested in. Read about economics. But it starts to become repetitive. “Oh yeah. I already believe this. I already know this. So why am I rereading it?” Then, I think “You know, I’m not sure if some of this stuff written by others is ever going to be read by others. Who is ever going to read Rothbard?” I rarely think of all of the people that have read Rothbard. Just all of the ones that have no idea who he is, or those who levy character assassinations against him, purposefully (or unintentionally) misconstruing his words. And I get very dejected. What’s the point of writing if that is going to happen to you, ultimately? If it happened to Rothbard, a much better writer and thinker than I, then why would I write at all? That line of thinking prevents me from writing quite often. Indeed, with regards to fiction, the likes of King and Rowling create the same line of thought within myself. “I could never write as much as Stephen King does. I’ll probably never be as good as either one of them. So why do it at all?”

My personal philosophy regarding doing what you enjoy is that you have nothing to lose by trying to make a career out of it. You have nothing to lose by trying to sell your passion. Even if you never do, you have nothing to lose by trying to do so. So that’s my attitude, with things that I love to do. Writing, acting, comedy. My belief is: why not treat it as a business? If I’m going to do it anyway, without getting paid for it, I might as well treat it as a business. I realize this is counter-intuitive to many business-oriented people. Of course, economic activity exists because trade takes place. If not enough people are willing to trade for your services, you’ll have to adopt your services to something more lucrative if you decide it is worthwhile to do so. And many people do. Everyone does, to a certain extent. We all have to live. Shall we grow our own food? Or join retail (or any other line of work that isn’t directly “growing our own food”) to buy the products of those that do grow food in exchange for other goods and services? But I love to write. I do it for free. So I might as well dream of attaining “professional status” someday, regardless of how realistic or unrealistic that dream is.

I often get dejected as a writer. I write something that I think to be good, and it goes undiscovered. Of course, considering all of the writing that exists in the world, this is no surprise. It’s part of the fun of being a writer. Or of doing anything, really, that you wish to become a “professional” at. I think of all of the famous writers that I’ve read very little or none of. All of the “classic” authors in the world. The best writers the world has ever known. I’m entering into this field. I am a writer. They are writers. I am competing for attention. For readers. They’ll always win. And that’s fine. But I still write. I still want to get involved. I still want readers. “Professional” status. Regardless of how much better the writers are than I, I still want in. I’m a child that wants to play with “the big boys”. And I enjoy it and love it.

I get pretty exhausted with reading. I prefer to write than read. Despite the fact that I’m sure my words are not going to be as good as others, I still desire to write more often than read. I guess I’m just relegated to writing shitty words. I guess, as long as I love them, that’s what should really matter to me.

So if I desire to write, and love to write, what should I do when I know my writing sucks? When I’m not willing to partake in the “literary world”? What should I write when I have nothing to say? I don’t know. I write things like this. My writing will, more than likely, never be widely read, and, when actually read, will probably be criticized instead of enjoyed. I’m not saying that’s unethical, of course. I’m just merely stating the fact, and that dejects me. Does my writing deserve to be enjoyed? Of course not. I wouldn’t suggest that anyone enjoy shitty writing. But it’s my desire to not be shitty that motivates me. It’s not necessarily the reason why I write, but why wouldn’t that be an end goal that I wish to achieve through writing?

Of course, all writing is thoughts. So if there is a good book, there was a good mind behind it. Clearly, my mind pales in comparison to many of the great minds of history, and of the present. So if I want to write, it has to come from within my own mind. What is in my mind? Well, the only way I can convey that is through words, and that’s what I struggle with the most. I struggle with explaining what is in my mind. And, of course, that is necessary for writers to do. Writers must explain what is in their minds.

One problem currently, that I’m slowly attempting to remedy, is that I’m not educated enough. I don’t know enough. What do I want to write? And how do I want to write it? I’m slowly developing these things, but the main thing that I know is that I just love to do it. I love to write. It matters little what it is, as long as I’m writing. But, clearly, every piece of writing has to be about something, so I have to figure out what I’m going to write about. It’s kind of odd to me, in a way. I love writing more than what it is I’m writing about. That feels very odd. Of course, there are times when what I want to write about is more enjoyable to me than actually writing it out itself. In fact, this is the case quite often, as I can’t figure out how to start, elaborate, make it better, etc. Or I get bogged down with what I mentioned above (how many writers there are, how much better they are than me, etc.). It’s a constant conflict. I either love the act of writing, with nothing to say, or I have things to say, but don’t feel like I have the ability to say them the way that I wish to. Deep down, I know this is in the heart of every writer, if not all of the time, at least a significant percentage of it. All creative types struggle. We have a desire to create, but often, we struggle. We struggle in our technical abilities, or through an internal conflict of visions. We always struggle. This is part of being a creative type.

The answer, for me, is going to come very slowly. Very slowly will I begin to read more often. I’ll be able to figure out my personal philosophies regarding reading. I’ll develop my thoughts into more concreteness, and then, work on developing the tools to express them as effectively as I would wish to do.

There are, of course, many obstacles. Getting better as a writer is a giant obstacle. My own personal thoughts about where I “fit in to the grand scheme of things” is a giant obstacle. Justified self-deprecation is an obstacle. My hopes and dreams are an obstacle. My personal beliefs are an obstacle. All of these are obstacles. Ultimately, I’ll have to find my way through them. Contemplation is one of the only ways to do this. It’s all up to me. All up to my own fucking little head. I have to do this all by myself. I have to figure out which books to read, what personal philosophies I wish to adopt, what I wish to write, how I wish to feel about my finances, how I fit into the “writing” market (and other markets). It’s all a process, and this is merely a step in it. Despite my lack of financial success, I’m very happy with my work up to this point. I wouldn’t trade it to be more successful, because the purpose of starting out on this journey of my work was doing what I enjoyed doing. And I have enjoyed it. I do enjoy it, immensely, even if I’m not making any money from it. I am confident this will change with time and practice, regardless of how “unrealistic” it is in the eyes of others. But the point is that even if they are right, I am also right. Of course, I’d love to make a living through writing, comedy, and acting. It is one of my goals to. But even if I don’t, I kind of don’t care. Once again, I have nothing to lose by adopting an attitude of optimism regarding financial success in my arts. But even if I don’t, I’m still going to do them. I don’t understand why more people don’t adopt this attitude. I’m sure there are many that do have that attitude, and that’s a good thing. And, of course, values differ from individual to individual, and yes, we all do have to “make a livingsomehow. But individual value scales come into play. Some are willing to work less hours to paint pictures that never sell. Some are willing to sacrifice hours of leisure for more money. It’s all up to each individual to decide what values he or she has, and creating, through writing and comedy, is certainly something that I value very, very much.

It may be asked why I don’t go to school to learn to be a better writer. My answer to that is that I enjoy being my own teacher; completely in control of my own education. Deciding who to read, and when. I want to do everything by myself. That’s also something that I value very, very much. My own independent education. I’m not saying that people who choose to go to school aren’t acting “independently”. I just prefer to do things by myself, and I don’t want to go to “school” for things that I can learn for myself through reading, practice, and self-contemplation.

It remains to be seen what will happen, as is always the case. What I read will shape me. What and when will it happen? I read a little, as I said. About economics, particularly. It’s definitely influenced me. I’ve read a little fiction. In the process of reading a “classic”. I hope that I can learn something from it. Not only do I want to be entertained by it, but I read it as a teaching tool. I read it in the hopes of absorbing what makes it “good” for myself, so I can regurgitate it in my own way. That will probably be what leads me to read more often, as I think is the case with my best friend. He’s fully entrenched in the “reading/writing” world, and I haven’t been up to this point. But I am desiring to get better as a writer, and I can hear his voice in my head as I write that. I think we both want to become better writers through reading. And I think we both recognize the seeming futility of our endeavors. I’ve heard him speak many times about the number of writers there are in the world; the number of books, written by living and deceased. And he’s always talked about how behind he is with reading. How many books there are that remain unread. How he’ll never be able to figure out how to deal with it all. There will always be books, authors, undiscovered. Where do you begin? What perspective do you develop about it all? It’s always bugged him, and now, it’s starting to bug me. The things I have written here, have been discussed by him, to me, for quite some time now. Seems as if he’s influenced me; or, rather, that we were more alike than I realized back then.

So, I suppose, that we both, and all other writers alike, are stuck in the writing struggle, where we read, write, and try to figure out our place among all of the other readers and writers in the world.

A small note: in addition to what I’ve said about historic and current authors, one thing that I also think about is the fact that “history repeats itself”. Especially in economics, my particular subject of interest in reading about. On the one hand, it all feels so futile. We’re all just going back and forth about the same arguments that have always existed. But on the other, if evil won’t rest, neither should good. It’s all just exhausting, ultimately.

Writer.

Writing.

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