My name’s Greg. And I’ve got a problem. I’m a word hoarder. Writing is supposedly the thing I love most. Also supposedly, I want people to read it. Still more supposedly, I want it to spread. And perhaps most supposedly of all, though I would love to make a career out of it I still often say that it’s ultimately not about money.
Supposedly, then, I should be eager to get my work out there. As much of it as possible and as quickly as I can. And yet I haven’t. I’ve written all sorts of stuff — some good, some bad, most nearly unreadable — and then just sort of squirreled it away. I realized recently that hoarding my work can have a remarkably similar effect on a person’s mind as the hoarding of goods may have on a person’s living space.
I think my brain has been a bit cluttered. With varying mixtures of general anxieties, more specific neuroses, delusions of publishability, fears of judgment, arrogance, self-loathing, and hunger (both for the work itself and whatever meal I was missing during all the worrying). I can give you an exact scenario that helps illustrate why all of this is a problem.
There was a short story I’d written that I wasn’t particularly interested in pursuing for publication. Not that it was bad, per se. Rather, I saw it more as a random one-off piece and was more interested in continuing work on something more long-form that I’d had in mind rather than spending a lot of time on this story. But I still wanted to share it with folks, even if I didn’t want to pursue professional publication. Oh, but what if I want to try to publish it later? Will it hurt my chances if it’s on the internet for a long time first? What if someone steals it? What if somebody doesn’t like it? Or worse, is outright offended by something in it? Should I delete that particularly offensive line? A future employer could see!
Before I know it, an hour has passed in consideration of such things over one singular piece of… well, crap. It wasn’t even a particularly interesting or important story. I could have been writing OR doing the less-interesting administrative side of sending out queries to try to get something published. But I did neither.
Variations of this scenario happen all the time. Sometimes a good friend wants to see some of my stories, and I’ll print them out a small binder. But then I get paranoid about including something that they in particular may not like. Or maybe something’s in there that I simply don’t want them to see. (When printing a binder for my mother, for instance, I did not include a story of mine called “Blowjob Pheremones.”)
When I realized how extensively I do such worrying I was pretty mad at myself. All that time could’ve been spent writing. But what to do? One thought kept popping up in my head whenever I was considering that question: WRITE IT AND LET IT GO. I started answering any writing-related worry I had with that question. Just write it and let it go, Greg. Put it out there and let it get read, even if only by one person. Don’t over-edit or overanalyze. Don’t spend time agonizing over whether it’s “good enough” to be read. Don’t worry about what image it projects regarding how cool or interesting you are. Fuck it — write it, let it go. (To give credit where credit is due, I think the germ of all of this thinking is one of my favorite sayings: “Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.“)
So that’s what I’m doing now. I play to post everything from awful, angsty poetry to my favorite short stories and everything in between. Might Will even serialize the longer stories and novels I’ve written. Straight through until the whole of each is posted. Which means that once I start in on the novels it may take quite a while.
As of the time I’m writing this (26Sep2010), none of the fiction I’ve produced has been published. Most of it probably for good reasons. Not the least of reasons being that I’ve hardly made much of an effort. (Classic bad writer’s excuse, I know.) I have so little time in my day-to-day life that when I can steal a moment I’d rather spend it producing more work than poking at old stuff and writing letters and dealing with formatting and whatnot. This site is an extension of that need, an attempt to pare down the nonsense even further. Some of it will suck, but I’m okay with that. Hope you are, too.
And if you aren’t, I don’t care!
…okay, I do kind of care. But not enough to stop.