I have always wanted to be a writer. Sadly, I am one of those unfortunate passive aggressive types that
can’t won’t use the words eat and shit, respectively, together in dialog. To be a writer, you must have thick skin and be able to articulate some very choice imperative sentence structures to those that choose to fight you in the literary battleground. I’ve started to exclude words like scrutiny and commendation, and currently display self-belief on the front of my forehead, which was by far a better idea than my first plan to tattoo the words ‘I don’t hear you’ on my eyelids. Here are some additional ideas to help you find your voice.
Start young and show your work to your mom. She is tough and practical. She has a son in the military, defending our country from the bad guys and one that defends our streets at night from dirt bags. She’ll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you, void of all expression. She’ll say something like, “Why don’t you empty the dishwasher for mommy?” Look away. Shove the spoons in the fork drawer and clash the pots loudly against the pans. Unintentionally, or intentionally break a mug belonging to a set of four that read ‘Mean people’ ‘Suck’, ‘Blow’, ‘Stink’. You’ll know which one to sacrifice. This is required pain and suffering. Early on, critical disappointment is necessary.
Ponder what you’ll write about. The wonderful world of cephalopods. Food hygiene. History of airline customer service. Conflict resolution for bouncers at night clubs. Menopause. Complications with swallowing swords and other sharp objects. Limit these thoughts to no more than ten per day; like ingesting too many Hostess Ding Dongs, they can make you vomit and hate your very existence.
You will read somewhere that all writing comes from a converging of nerves from two parts of the body: the brain and the genitalia. Don’t dwell on this. It will make you uncomfortable.
Once you are ready to assemble your scattered imagination into complete works, you must prepare yourself to get through those sinister interludes of vacant
thoughts numbness. I recommend loading a potato gun with marshmallows - not potatoes, after all, we are trying to encourage a creative space, not a crime scene. Compile a playlist of over-played 70’s disco and funk music. You must then put yourself up in someone’s unfinished basement – preferably someone that is away or in prison – that would be ideal. Create your own solitary confinement, or writer’s room, if you fancy. Mull over your folder of topical fragments and possible plots:
The I-phone conspiracy.
A man gets on a bus headed to nowhere.
Things you shouldn’t say in court.
Co-workers for dummies: Throwing you under the bus is fun!
Inappropriate Christmas gifts and how to re-gift with class.
Manscaping from a woman’s point of view
I think you’ve had enough to drink.
If in doubt, visit your spam folder. If you have difficulty coming up with character names or subject matter, there are about a thousand bits of inspiration waiting for you there (Please note: I’m afraid I already have dibs on the name Jablome Dorkoff for future use in a fictional story). Don’t stare out of the 12x8 inch excuse of a window during the morning because you’ll have nothing to do in the afternoon. If you decide to watch MTV’s Pregnant and 16 instead, shoot yourself in the face with a marshmallow and pretend it was a bullet. Lie down on the musty, cement floor and listen to Kung Fu Fighting on repeat. While you pretend to die, eat a bowl of Moose Tracks. Hate yourself with the complete entirety of your being. Feel unable to go on, knowing the quantity of high fructose corn syrup that makes up your ice cream, and how it’s going to be the demise of mankind in the end anyways. Cry because you got that ‘my boyfriend is better than yours’ tattoo despite my advice. Eat more Moose Tracks and call yourself a raging pig. Proceed to make farm animal noises because strangely, it makes you feel better - but you’re alone, and so no one will know you smiled when you did it, so carry on. Now write about your experience. Drink a cup of coffee to get right again and be glad you’re not just a writer.
Always keep in mind that writing will never come easy, and if it does, you’ve probably lost your voice. Go back to Mom and ask her what she thinks about your writing. If she tells you to help her with the laundry, then you’ll have your answer.