Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Last Night I Decided to Write a Blog . . .

Almost a month and a half ago, I finished my first year of college, and came back to my home of nineteen years. The weather wasn’t always hot yet, local strawberries were not yet ripe, and as far as I was concerned, I much preferred to remain at school, sitting out on the vast lawn known as Morgan field, talking for hours with the people who over one short year, I had come to know as my friends. But instead I found myself in my parents' house, with a lot of quiet, and no job for the next month.

I planned to write.

I have always had a fantasy . . . no, a dream, an ambition, of making it as a novelist, and now that a month of free time sat idly at my disposal, I thought, well, if I’m ever going to start writing the next great American novel, I might as well do it before my summer job starts. I had neither the willpower, nor the inspiration. Near the start of the four weeks, I opened a blank Microsoft word document almost daily and stared the screen, thinking of the characters that I used to write about before going away to college, and trying to remember what their faces looked like, and how they felt when it rained vs. snowed. I would usually stop trying to write after only a paragraph or so, feeling a lazy kind of tired, and I bit sick to my stomach. And then my summer job began. I haven’t tried to write even once in the past two weeks.

But last night, after watching a few hours of the sort of TV that’s just entertaining enough to fluidly and efficiently numb the brain, I found myself thinking about the writing dilemma again. They were casual thoughts; not enough to really dwell on. But I thought enough about that side of my identity to want to look through some of my old writing, from my high school years. I read through a few stories, and, to simplify a complicated set of feelings, I wasn’t sure if I still felt like the person who had written them. And then I realized . . . I truly had changed during this year, and to really write now, and to feel satisfied by the process of writing, I needed to find my voice.

This blog, According to Em is a tool in my quest to find my voice, and to develop and change it, when necessary. In case you’re wondering, Em is the first syllable of my name, my initials, and also the word me, backwards. I want to say what’s on my mind, and hopefully provoke thought and the creation of new ideas, in my own mind, and in the minds of anyone who reads the posts.

If you have read this far in my first post, then many thanks, and please comment, since nothing will give me more joy than knowing that this blog that I decided to start is being read and reacted to, whatever that reaction. Bye for now, and look for more to come soon.


  1. Nicely done, Emily; very articulate. I've been thinking about starting up my old blog again, but I wasn't actually planning on doing so until I saw you'd started your own. Thanks for the inspiration I needed to get off my lazy keester and start ranting about everything again!

  2. Thumbs up to writing. Checked this out through the blogging thread in "ehnffpuhs" unite on Facebook.

    Writing's nothing easy. I've been aspiring to write since I was a kid. Only just managed to get my first work published last fall, and it was a small short story in a local online thing. Finished my first novel after over two years of work back in early March, and now I'm just trying to finish my final set of revisions by the end of summer so I can start harassing agents, since I'm pinning everything on the increasingly difficult route of traditional publishing. Very hard to make it through getting an agent and traditional publisher, to get one's work out there and on shelves, with the pains the literary world's going through these days.

    No part of the process is easy. Creatively, personally, professionally, financially, and the list goes on. The process is a drain on the soul, and certainly known for crushing many an aspiring writer.

    All I can suggest is to just keep trying to figure out what's important to you. What you want to say, what kinds of stories you want to tell, what kinds of characters you want to write. Once you get enough together, it'll all start coming together more naturally and organically. And whatever you do, no matter how soul crushing or impairing the experience may feel, ignore all better sense and keep going. I think that's one of the most important qualifies in getting anywhere as a writer - to find the guts to be ridiculous beyond all common sense, and to keep pressing on regardless of what throws itself in your way. Getting anywhere means embracing some kind of 'flaws' as perceived by most, that most would seek to avoid.

  3. Benjamin- Congrats on getting published, however big or small the accomplishment, and good luck on the process with your novel. Thanks for the advice. I very much look forward to working through this rough patch of writer's block, so that I can move on to the later stages of difficulties associated with trying to make it as a writer.

  4. Thanks. I'm hoping to somehow get something published this year - whether another short story by the end of the year on another site somewhere (I'm working on an entry for an NPR contest now and thinking of entering another this summer.) or somehow managing to find an agent and publisher and get a deal for my novel so I can get that out on shelves sometime by 2010. (As I'd imagine that halfway through the year, there's no way to get anything published within the year now unless you go the self-publishing route, when that generally won't get you anywhere.)

    No problem at all. Just keep focused and do your best - there's no part of it that's easy, but it's satisfying work. Actually finishing the first full draft of my novel back in March was a celebratory occasion for me.

  5. Great blog Emily...u surely should be a writer..

  6. Great blog!! You're such a great writer! Continue doing what you love and obviously very good at. People like you really inspire me.