On not writing
I know posting on LiveJournal can lead to blogging, but I have been wanting to say this for some time.
I have a terrible, terrible secret to reveal. It's something that made the later years of school a personal hell, and has undoubtedly messed up my education and career.
It's something I haven't seen anybody admit to - at least in writing. But I'm sure there are others out there. My secret is this:
I can't write worth a damn!
Oh yeah, I hear you say. Lots of people don't write too well, just use a spell checker &c &c &c.
I don't need a spell checker (says he, knowing there's bound to be some error somewhere). I write perfectly good Norwegian (Bokmål, and if I brush up on the grammar and have access to a dictionary, Nynorsk) and English.
It's finding the words I suck at. It was like that at school, where writing essays were always a pain, unless there was some easy way out (I have no idea how many times I wrote the 'analysis of argument' in high school exams, but it wasn't few).
Have you ever had a blank sheet of paper mocking you? I have, trying to write an essay at an exam. That's a large part of why I took the 'trade and office' high school - to the surprise of the people who expected me to do the 'science and mathematics' thing. I couldn't stand the thought of writing those science reports and all that.
'You should go to university, Roy. Be a student, enjoy life.' Yeah, right. Sets my stomach churning, it does, the thought of it. Not only being broke all the time, but all the writing of Stuff, on a small or large scale. I've tried economic college, and it was hell. Project work and impending exams.
Well, okay, exams are easy, as long as there's no essay writing. There's usually actual questions to answer, and you've usually absorbed enough of the lectures. A few hours of regurgitation on some subject, and you're on your way home.
A vanity search on Google gives me 1670 hits for 'author:ovrebo'. Some of the posts are mediocre rubbish, some of them make me downright ashamed at form or content, some are still funny, and a few still give me a feeling of satisfaction at a well-crafted post, years down the road.
But none, apart from the one-liners or the 'Test, ignore', ever came easy. I may want to say something, but not know how to say it. After a while of the text editor mocking me, I may give it up. Sometimes I go back to it. Sometimes I even get a post written out of those.
But it doesn't get easier. One-and-a-half thousand Usenet posts, and my mind is still empty when I look at the blank page.
A friend of mine once talked about how he'd write stories all the time as a kid. I have never written a single piece of fiction outside of schoolwork in my life. I envy those of you who can do that. How the hell do you do it? Where do the words come from?
I'm a reader, not a writer. I'll post more to this LJ, though. Tomorrow, maybe. Or next month, or the year after next. Don't hold your breath. Current Mood: blah