Thursday, March 21, 2013

Disconnects And The Future Me

Status update:  Early start. Hit the ground running and fast. Coffee supplies plentiful.

In honor of last weekend's holiday, I'm writing about beer this week, instead of doing another Bo story. Hail randomness. St. Patrick's Day in Michigan is pretty weird. We're a beer state, so we tend to embrace (and sometimes create out of thin f'ing air) drinking holidays. Heck, the launch of Bell's (one of our biggest local microbreweries--they're pretty awesome) summer brew is a local holiday that sees lines around the block at taverns around these parts. It's crazy. We don't even have a big local Irish population; we're just a bunch of alcoholics, apparently.

I'm always a little surprised when I go back and read something I wrote. I tend to go off into a sort of haze and when I come to, there's stuff on the paper. It almost feels like someone else who's much better with words wrote it while I was daydreaming.

I have this weird little neurosis that the me that wrote all my previous stories isn't the me that's writing my current story, like I'll go to bang out words and it just won't be the same: the stuff I like from my last story won't be in the next. The moment will have been lost and there's no getting back to it because I am an entirely different person than what I was last week. Yeah, self-defeating, I know.

Sometimes I'll go back and read something so bad I thought I had a stroke when I wrote it. Then I go over it, pad it out, do a rewrite and then it's not so bad. Might even wind up good, who knows.

Sometimes I bang out the skeleton of an idea, wincing with every word I write. I go back and...it's got promise. It's not good, but it's going in a direction I don't disagree with. I wail away at it for an hour, spit shine it and...I wind up liking it. A lot.

And other times I just splat something out on paper that's awesome right off the bat.

I think it's a basic part of human nature to think that the you of tomorrow morning is an entirely different person than the you of now. If it wasn't, the diet industry wouldn't be such a booming industry and nobody in America would be in credit card debt, I guess.

In writing, it can sometimes lend to a sort of paralysis, a fear that what you put on paper in the future or right now won't be able to stay at a high enough level to match what you've put down on paper in the past. You think the well might be going dry or you're losing your touch. But the future version of you is just as good--if not better--than you were in the past, as long as you keep trying new things and experimenting.

I've said it before, but don't be afraid of sucking. You can't get anywhere in life without a healthy dose of regular failure. And the wins totally make all of that worth it.

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