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Monday, February 6, 2012

Exemplary writing

One of the things that I have strived to become is an exemplary writer. Not just decent, not good, not even great. Legendary. The kind of writer that, when you read his work, you are left in awe. There is something in the way a master crafts language as though it were clay. It is that kind of writing that can truly become art.

For a while I fancied myself a great writer. I was, as far as I know, at the top of my classes. Whenever I worked for someone in a writing capacity, I was generally regarded as a valuable asset. I know there are better - and younger - writers out there, particularly now. Even if my working vocabulary grew exponentially, my similes and metaphors were akin to Shakespeare's, and my depth a rival to Hemingway, I still will not be the legendary writer that I wish to be. At least, not for a while.

There is some truth to the idea that writers have troubled pasts, but mine was not wracked by hardships. Many writers have had the advantages of an education that has no equal; mine was at times sub par. Some have seen the world, changed our mother tongue in unalterable ways, and fired the imaginations of millions. However, there are still top-shelf authors who, like me, have had none of these. It is time and my own personal demons that are preventing me from being the writer I could be.

Time I can change very little. I can make a little more time for writing, set aside time every day, keep myself focused and awake and habitual. Having a 10-month older who is now starting to walk and teethe (and make a grinding noise with her teeth that sends shivers reserved for dentists alone* up my spine) does make things more difficult, but not impossible. I will not be denying my daughter time with me, or the time she needs to be raised properly. But that does not mean I have to deny myself that which defines and drives me (if only I was driven by a single force).

This, of course, leaves my own personal demons. These are, for the most part, distractions. Sure, I could blame it on ADHD. I have been ADHD my entire life and am still, at 30, learning to deal with it. I have yet to find a medicine that has acceptable side effects (but that is for another post). But to be my own devil's advocate, I HAVE lived with it for 30 years and should be able to deal with it fairly well. No, I will not blame my distractions on ADHD. I lack the discipline that I need to do the things I wish to do. I lack the habits, the routine, the self-control. Currently my distractions are games (and not just one in particular, but a variety), Netflix, and attempting to role-play online. I do get some writing done, and the role-playing I have tried to start up is writing intensive. I have learned, however, that I really am a better writer than most. The writing can at times be excellent, but it is usually poor. And I do not think it is helping me, but instead forcing me into the habit of writing poorly. And that is one habit I do not need.

I have other things on my plate. My wife and I are attempting to brew beer. I have purchased (and intend to start) a cross-stitching pattern. I have about 4 writing projects that I want to pursue. I am still in the process of transferring my rather sizable collection of CDs onto my computer. There are a variety of songs I want to learn to play on the guitar, including songs for Children's Chapel (which I will be taking up) and songs taught to me by the PS3 game Rocksmith (although a game, it uses a real guitar, and teaches you how to play songs to the point where you could play them on your own for others). I still have not been on a camp out with the boy scout troop I am helping. And on top of all this, I am attempting to find things to do with my daughter now and when she gets a little older. It has been said that a man only has time for one passion in his life. I feel I can get away with 2 or 3... but I have about 7.

So, in short, I am going to have to work on the discipline. I have come to redefine my goals and my thought of what "exemplary" writing is. I do not know if it is an achievable goal, but it is a path I wish to tread. In time, who knows?

*It is not only a sound that makes my teeth ache with empathy pangs, but also makes my wallet hurt with the thought of the dentist's bill once we see the damage she has done to her teeth.

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