Few things are more intimidating to an aspiring unproven writer than a massive blank page. It stares at you expectantly, mockingly, it is confident in its supremacy having won the battle between scribe and void countless times. WordPress is particularly daunting as the interface provides an all-encompassing whiteness that takes up the majority of the screen.
In an effort to defeat my enemy I am engaging in the writing process for the first time in many months (I am not counting Facebook posts — I probably should, there’s a novel in there somewhere).
This is my shitty first blog (blog being the ultimate curse word of writing). Although this is not technically my “first” shitty post. Anyone who glances at my site will see that I’ve written a number of other equally shit or shittier posts. I’ve had other websites too, and I have written dozens of posts for those sites (also shit). I can’t remember them all now. I wrote dozens of posts on Myspace (back when that was popular… which seems impossibly long ago now (I miss Tom)). And I’ve written dozens of posts on my various Facebook pages.
I even wrote a book! I turned it in as my thesis for graduate school at NYU. Can you believe they passed me? By ‘you’ I’m writing in second person to me, because as a writer both of the following things are true: 1) everything is about me, and 2) naturally, I suffer from impostor syndrome and am still surprised I have a master’s degree.
I still haven’t received/held the master’s degree in my hands. It’s in Sarasota, Florida at my mother’s house. She was kind enough to send a picture of it to me. That will have to do for now.
Immediately after graduating from NYU I drove to the opposite end of the country, about 2,900 miles to Los Angeles. My favorite states to drive through during this trek were Pennsylvania, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. No contest on my least favorite — Ohio.
Dozens of blogs and a novel (which is still unedited) aside, what I haven’t done with my passion for writing is, well, consistently write. I want to do that now and I have a plan in place to hold myself accountable.
What is this plan? My plan is outlined in the below list. A list comprised of loosely held beliefs about how to hone my skills (sourced from various places I cannot entirely remember, but includes podcasts, blogs, professors, books, friends, lovers — do not expect citations in this post).
Here is the plan of ultimate accountability for myself:
maintain a daily word count (I’m thinking 1000ish for the first thirty days or so),
refuse to be overcome by my crippling fear of being judged too harshly by my readers (congratulations! all four of you can read my shitty posts, disagree with my politics, and overtly (but preferably privately) judge me),
create and stick to a variety of goals other than these goals (which means I’m going to make a bunch of lists and try to remember which of my dozens of notepads and journals those lists are in),
read – read – read – and read some more. Maybe even read different genres — very edgy,
expand my horizons by writing on a number of different topics, genres, and styles (notice this list has some really shit grammar — that’s by design! tadaa! still being edgy),
connected to the massive genre interest expansion — finally look through the four years of college notes that I’ve been hoarding from my many, many, many, way too many classes, and condense them. This is important because during those years I wrote several of my best story ideas within said notes. I can’t remember what a single one of those story ideas are… but I’m certain they are world changing,
(on my many classes — I began my college career at Grand Valley State University in fall of 2003. When I enrolled I was a Business Major. I changed that to Hospitality & Tourism in the winter semester of 2004. I changed that to English in the Fall of 2004. After taking a hiatus from school in 2005… I ended as a History major in the 2006-2007 academic year. I failed every class in the winter of 2007 because I stopped going, drank too much, and had decided I was dropping out to move to Florida and begin a career in travel that I think I knew in the back of my mind was destined to fail. I enrolled at State College of Florida in 2013, where I received my A.A. after three very intense semesters of work. I then transferred to the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in 2014, beginning my career as an Elementary Education major. I ended my career at USFSM in May of 2015 with an Honors Degree in History. I believe that is six major changes over the course of 12 years… so “many, many, many, way too many classes” was not hyperbole),
finish editing that fucking book. Look, my book scares the shit out of me. Every time I pick the fucking thing up I think, “this is 230 pages of you’re not good enough to do this. You should quit.” But fuck that internal dialogue. Screw you, Stewart. You’re an asshole. Maybe I’m not good enough. And maybe it won’t ever get published. And maybe nobody will ever read it. And maybe my mother is the only person who is going to like the damn thing (because she has to, she’s my mother and I am her favorite). But you know what? I wrote a book. And I’m going to make sure that book is as good as it possibly can be. And I’m going to try to publish the damn thing. So there. Take that you unfinished pile of potentially better than garbage (the book, not me. But maybe me),
and, finally, I’m going to embrace my scattered brain.
What does “embrace my scattered brain” mean? Wonderful question, it’s all in the title. “STEWART HOLDS HIMSELF ACCOUNTABLE” is the name of the “blog” (why do I hate that word?), but the sub-heading is just as important — and it is in alphabetical order:
Blogging (still hate that word),
Gizmo (he’s my dog),
Memes (god I love memes),
Not Blogging (I don’t know what this one means yet),
Ranting (one of my top three skills… along with running from spiders and drinking a dirty 30 of natural light without having to pee),
These are my interests. And my brain fluctuates so rapidly between them that I often have a hard time picking out the bits that are worth developing into something meaningful, from the bits and pieces that suck (like probably this shitty kind-of-first-blog, (GOD I HATE THAT WORD)).
So if you don’t like one of my interests don’t worry, I have something else locked and loaded. Not literally. Sooner or later I am sure to write about something in that list which interests you, one of my four readers. Since I paid $99 two years ago for stewartcarrier.com I have focused on nothing but politics (*cough* Donald Trump *cough*).
So while some of this shit is going to be shit, some of this shit is also going to be better more solidified shit. Or likable shit. Maybe even not shit. Who knows? Certainly not me.
As I come to the end of my 1000 words, much of which was listing things, which is a trick of us wily old blogging — what an awful word — veterans, I want to take a moment to reflect on a little victory I just had. Take that WordPress… and your massive blank page. I just kicked your ass.
This must be what Sam Darnold felt like last night when he put my Lions on the endange… nope. Not typing out that horrible cliche. I AM a better writer than that.