An honest, critical and grandiose self-analysis

What kind of {insert oath} writer am I anyway? Let’s take a quick look. Self-published a book of music essays. Write for and edit the Slow Review — occasionally. Most of that’s on a critical or review basis — writing reviews is one of my default modes. Do a bit of typecast blogging and letter writing. Writing woolly essays with an abstract bent. A few snippets here and there that crop up on Google. A few short stories that are low on drama and the usual narrative factors. Not much paid work, ever. Have done some editing work, especially in an online context, and would love to be an editor of books. Wrote for a University student newspaper. Once read some creative writing to an undergraduate lecture hall. Never actually went to a writing workshop. Have done small corporate writing and interviewing work, but find it stiflingly impossible to work to a tight brief. I’d rather anything with a minor avenue for personal style and outlet. And I get around this by saying my ideal as a writer is to get paid for my opinions {but I’m also too lazy to go about this via the usual channels & tracks: journalism, freelance work, popular publishing. I could never be a science or economics writer}. Another problem is that I’m sometimes urgently rich on ideas whilst naggingly poor on form and readability. But which makes me love literary fiction crusted with ideas, and SF, whilst so far not having written anything resembling a novel. But which underlines another fact {back to Google and self-publishing} which is that nothing I’ve written has really ignited or sparked anything like the attention that spreads meme-like from peep to peep, word-of-mouth excitement, despite the idea content and sometime clarity and suasion. I fear that a lot of the things I write are somehow subtly off-putting, like my verbal gift for unintentionally insulting people. Or afraid that it’s incredibly hard to make people read stuff these days. I’ve submitted a handful of stories and poems to small journals and competitions, without takers. I’m not a persistent submitterator. A bit of inflated guff for a photographic design project. Never wrote a script although I’ve adapted one for a short film. Oh, and I use Twitter chronically — as a vehicle for ideas and observations and complaints, with a random re-tweet here and there.

So then, what would satisfy me? The getting paid for guff, of course. But also: successfully drafting a novel that feels like what it’s like to be alive and cognisant today. That potentially changes what people see and think, or could be used as a source- & sample-book for other narrative ideas. Something that doesn’t feel like all the other trash out there but flatters the reader’s attention and brains. And getting to a stage where I’m happy and done with it and successfully find a publisher. And pushing it out to a few curious readers who talk about it in turn. And finding that higher critical wisdom that comes with being more than able.

A published poem would be very nice. I’d like a journal or two to say hey, got anything lying around? I’d like to be interviewed by a Dutch or Flemish literary feature. I’d like a kill fee, or an advance. {The ego, it roams wild of course.} I’d also like to get some of the more critical-abstract pieces published somewhere. I want to be an enjoyable essayist. I don’t mind doing more self-publishing or electronic distribution.
Above all, and especially novelistically, I want to find a satisfaction in the creative process that has some kind of meaningful, human connection to people who care on the readership side. I guess that’s not very unusual either. But I mean in a way that connects the other facets of life, perception and philosophy — that connects to a broader view of personal and public reality. Immersion in art.

Too much to ask?
Totally do-able.


Rob Bowker said...

Rino, you familiar with Granta? Or Words with jam?

rino breebaart said...

Rob - I do know Granta, I hadn't heard of the Wordjam. Thanks for the tips - I'll look into them a bit closer. cheers, rino

Richard P said...

I really recommend giving NaNoWriMo a try this November (and ideally you'll use a typewriter, of course). But you have to set aside all ideas about quality, publishing, audience, and changing the world -- at least as long as you're working on that first draft. You are writing it for yourself (and possibly for a few friends who may provide encouragement).

rino breebaart said...

I half-did the Nano about 8 years or so ago, way back when Nano was new... ha. I'm more amazed I haven't come up with anything novelicious since then. Which would be a good reason to get cracking.