Writing Resistance.

Writing, for me, hasn’t ever really been about finding a comfort zone with regard to the writing itself. I’m not afraid of writing anything, I dealt with any such issues a long, long, time ago. There are some things that I have no interest in writing, but that isn’t about fear of any particular subject matter, it’s about… that there are some things that I have no interest in writing. Some writers get stilted over writing sex scenes or violence, I did have something to overcome there with regard to writing violence because I detest it, but I’m not really sure what all people have trouble writing about because I’m realizing that I hadn’t ever thought about it before.

However, for the most part, for me the issues had less to do with subject matter than they did to do with who might be reading it whenever. For example, I remember being in my first serious relationship and the subject coming up as to who I had written something for or about. Nowadays the easy answer is, I wrote it for me, even though that wasn’t exactly the question. So at some point it began to be about consideration of the people who I cared for, or concern over what they might think, their feelings, sometimes there was not a little prompting and manipulation involved in those concerns, and as any writer who has fallen into that trap can tell you, you really cannot allow yourself to go down that road. Because that concern, as it were, then began to affect my comfort level with my writing, and that ultimately lead to the stifling of my voice in a lot of ways and frankly, there are those who would like nothing more than for that to continue.

The other thing that happens is that people say things like, “Oh! You’re a writer? You should write like J.K. Rowling, or who’s that vampire writer? I love vampire stories, that’s my thing! Or what about romances?” Would you go into the kitchen in someone’s home, unbidden, and tell them what to cook for dinner? Most people don’t mean any harm by it, they don’t know what to talk to a writer about because, apparently, writers are not like normal people, but it’s also a very not so subtle form of subversion as well.

So, for years I was all pent-up over other people’s feelings about my writing, as in this is my work belonging to ME and not another, and of course, mind you, most of those exact people could not have cared less about me or my feelings. Make no mistake, people who are worried about what you might write, well they aren’t worried about you, they’re worried about themselves, and in most cases that’s not a little egotistical, self-important, narcissistic and so on. There were all of these true stories that I wanted to tell from my younger years but I’d get worried about this person or that person. Things happened, life changed, and I found that at about the time that I realized that I wasn’t afraid of telling those stories anymore, I suddenly didn’t want to tell them, or need to. I didn’t feel the same about any of it. In the interim, I had discovered writing longer fiction and that I completely love it. Things happen the way that they do for a reason.

Chances are that as a writer, you’re not going to want to tell the same stories at forty-five that you were aching to tell at twenty-five. That is as it should be, and the stories that you do still want to tell, you’ll want to tell them differently. That is as it should be also, it’s called maturity, I think.

Something else happened though too and the evidence of it has been all over my webpage in an ever-changing, twisting, turning mess of trying to figure something out that really didn’t need figuring out. I let a couple of ignoramuses, that’s a really fancy synonym for jackass, I know! Look at me with the vocabulary…anyhoo… I was dealing with some things and I let a few barbs get under my skin with regard to the word authenticity. One of these people was someone who didn’t even know enough to understand that pseudonyms are quite common in the literary world, not “fake,” and have been employed by many a famous writer. Reading that now and sort of saying it out loud, one realizes the foolishness of having given such a thing, or person,Β  any merit at all. But there were other barbs here and there, at which point I began trying to “justify” myself as a writer, to legitimize myself because…because I was dealing with some other stuff too. And I was dealing with it all until all of that became the focus, and not the writing, and all of that became the distraction. The bio has to be “authentic,” you’ve got to be “the real you,” and so on. But, then it isn’t just that you’ve got to be the “real you,” it’s that you’ve got to be the “real you” but according to…whom?

Well, you can’t try to be the real you. You cannot try to be your true, authentic self. That’s a load of horse fertilizer right there. You can simply just let yourself be. You can’t let them make their problem, their faulty idea or perception of you, become anything at all to you.This is a tough business, tough enough without taking on all that.

So, I hadn’t even realized that I had gotten caught up in what amounts to a round robin of trying to justify myself as a writer, person, woman, human, whatever, and that had led to ridiculous webpage antics and trying to create some kind of a feeling or look or atmosphere instead of just laying down the words well enough to let the words do the work, and not worrying about what anyone thinks of that.

I forgot what I was doing, what I was supposed to be doing, what this is about.

It is about the words. It is about my work as a writer. It is about my art. My writing is my work and it is my art, and it has always been so.

Why am I sharing this latest stunning revelation?

Because it was a pretty bad spiral and I’m sure that I am not the first writer that ever got tangled up in such a way. And there are a couple of things that other writers said that really helped me and I want to share those things because they are completely spectacular and hit all of the nails on the head, exactly.

Author Laird Barron, On Writing: Resistance ( must read)

Author Stephen Graham Jones, A Letter to a Just Starting Out Indian Writer ( applies to all writers, must watch/listen)

So I’ll be getting back to work on my writing, my art, immediately.


Teri Skultety