So, this weekend I got my first, “you’re not a good writer” comment.
Straight into the nuts.
Sheeeeeeeiiiit that stung like a whoopee cushion exploding against your bare ass after you stuck it in your underwear.
I pouted like a little bitch about it for the next two hours. I looked to my boyfriend for child-like affirmation and even took to trusty ol’ Twitter to share my lament. Who the hell needs a psychiatrist when you have social media to tell you exactly what you want to hear?
I already emo’d about the negative comments I’ve received lately in another blog post, and you were all nice enough to write sweet comments to make me less butt hurt. I’m not writing this to fish any additional saccharine from you. I’m writing about this now because this is the first time someone has attacked my writing capabilities, and in that I realize it will be the first of many times that happens.
Because I’m fairly new to this whole freelance writing thing, I’m like a child being expelled from the womb for the first time, and realizing that the world is an angry and critical place. I’m like the high school student that looks up to their inspirational teacher only to find out that they’re a raging drunk that captures squirrels (not purple ones) and beats them on a daily basis. Because I was only writing on my blog previously, I was shielded from the fact that the Internet is a battlefield. Similar to when I would ask my mother if I was mentally challenged and I figured she was just too afraid to tell me the truth, I feel like most people have been kind enough not to tell me that I suck ass at the one thing I enjoy doing most in this world other than eating sweet potato tater tots.
I’m in the early stages of attempting to be an artist where you go, “Whoa whoa WHOA! Wait a minute! You mean not everyone likes what I do?” After hearing from other writers on Twitter and Facebook, I’m learning that this will be a string of many put downs and heartaches that will lead to a life full of drinking, talking to feral cats and developing a wide-eyed, vacant look on my face.
The commenter who told me I was not a good writer kind of has a point. I’m new to this. I’m still in my twenties. If I were good at it, I would probably be one of those annoying folks who were quoting Shakespeare at three years of age (those people are boring). Even some of the folks that got published at a young age- let’s look at Bret Easton Ellis, for example- were still at the very bottom of their game. I don’t think Bret Easton Ellis looks at Less Than Zero and goes, “Shit, I plateaued at twenty. I’m just going downhill with my talent from here.” Or maybe he does. Maybe he has one massive ego. Who knows? All I know is that right now I just feel comfortable enough calling myself writer with no adjective in front of it. Maybe in ten years I’ll be good and maybe in another twenty years I’ll be amazeballs (will a phrase like amazeballs even make it 2032?)! I come from the mindset that an artist gets better with experience and so far my experience is minimal. In my early twenties I didn’t even bother writing because I felt I had nothing to draw from other than the “problems” of a whiny, middle class white girl. I’m not one of those lucky few who have an overactive imagination and can write epic science fiction or fantasy stories. My overactive imagination mostly leaves me in a perpetual state of Deer Caught in Headlights Stance. I figure that at any moment I’m going to be killed, so writing, “Oh my GOD! A solar fire is going to strike me down!” over and over probably isn’t that interesting.
On a side note- I don’t have anyone to edit my shit and I’m still trying to recall the very little I learned in English class. All my English teachers, but one, gave us A’s as long as we turned in our work. I probably have the grammatical education of an eight year-old. At least that is something I can learn, which is why I would like to pay $25,000 that I don’t have to go back to college to make sure I’m putting commas in the right places. I also read and write every day which has helped significantly.
I figure that real talent comes down to the way that you regurgitate your experience and make your work relatable, which is something I’m growing in. Or just having the confidence in yourself to keep going and know that one day people will be saying, “Holy shit! I’m blinded by how awesome your writing skills are!”