Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I’ve come to the conclusion that the hardest part of writing isn’t finishing a story. The hardest part is starting one—over, and over, and over again. Because that’s what you have to do to get to the end, isn’t it? Start the book, eventually go to sleep. At some point over the course of the next day, start again…until you have to go to sleep. Repeat until there’s no more story. Start process over with another story while mentally preparing yourself to start revisions on previous one. Starting is the key here. Not finishing.

This feels like an epiphany, but at the same time I feel like I’ve read this pearl of wisdom somewhere before. Which is entirely possible. Some lessons take years to sink in with me.

For a lot of little reasons that happened to coalesce at the same time, I’m not working on any stories right now.* In the last few weeks I’ve wanted to, but for whatever reason I keep having false starts, not real ones. So my vacation continues, and it’s not so bad.

The other day I was looking over one of my bookcases. I’m a hoarder packrat archiver, especially about things I write, so I’ve got a bunch of old journals. Although I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember, it hasn’t always been fiction, and as I looked through my journals I noticed that I only seemed to feel it necessary to document the details of my life when I wasn’t writing fiction or poetry. Some of those details were really…hrm…interesting and I figured that I’d post some *headdesk* unedited excerpts below:

From when I was 10 years old:

Today I went to the movies and watched Transformors the Movie. It was fun! SPike was a grown man and was saying some bad words (like (shit.)) There were few more bad words in it. It was great.

17 years old:

I understand why so many seniors take cruise classes. It’s so they don’t blow a gasket when trying to meet all of their college deadlines.

18 years old:

So, I asked him to be my Valentine.

And you know what the idiot said?

He actually said yes.

Surprised the hell outta me, and then he asked what we were supposed to do. I told him I didn’t have a clue, and he laughed again.

20 years old:

Tomorrow I’ll be trying my hand at car sales. I really, really hope I have some sort of hidden car selling talent. I don’t want to look like an idiot and be poor this summer.

25 years old:

No matter what had happened before or what would happen later—in those hours he was perfect.

26 years old:

The next thing I know, I’m wondering where my muffin is. A few seconds later I’m wondering why I’m on the floor. A few seconds after that I wonder why my mom is sobbing. Turns out she thought I was dead.

30 years old:

He dyed his hair orange and dressed up like Ichigo for me. Filthy, unspeakable deeds in the dead of night were his reward. He says next year he might do Hisagi.

31 years old:

Went to see Dark Knight. HOLY SHIT. I mean... holy shit! Heath Ledger’s Joker was iconic and the story... it’s living, it’s breathing, it digs its wway inside of you. Haha. “Why so serious?” Holy FUCKING shit!

As you can see, I was (and still am) a mess. But reading those journals had me smiling, sneezing (dust!), chuckling. I was sad in parts, hopeful in others. All emotions I try to evoke through my stories.

So maybe the lesson here isn’t about me not writing. Maybe the lesson here is about me accepting the fact that, while I haven’t jumped feet first back into any of my books yet, this blog has become a journal of sorts which allows me to get my thoughts down, rambling though they may be.

It’s a start, right?

* This post was actually written two weeks ago and last week I out of the blue updated The Jascian’s Toy. I was proud of chapter 12. I suppose now it’s time to start again.


Katrina Strauss said...

Life is a story. We need to remember to live it sometimes. :)

Rowan McBride said...

@Katrina_Strauss The best stuff comes from living, yeah? Even if it's just the little things like paying attention to the fizzy sound a soda makes when you uncap it or how many red lights you hit when you're late to your doctor's appointment.

togainunochi said...

I like how one can see your growth in your entries. very nice,,,

Anonymous said...

love your ramblings!!

Rowan McBride said...

@togainunochi - Writing skills, yes. Taste in movies, probably not so much. lol.

@ellenmtracy - Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Your snippits from journals past are far more eloquent than anything I ever wrote down for myself. Whenever I have cracked open an old diary I am disgusted by how vapid I appear on page.

I love that even in your personal writing you can be so unabashedly sweet.

Rowan McBride said...

@Anon -- LOL. Trust me. There are pages and pages of nothing there too. And pages of teenaged angst. Oh, god. The angst.

Anonymous said...

Remember the life angst, glad that it part of the human experience, can not appreciate the sun without the rain, no waterfalls and lushly moving green leaves that smell of soil and growth. Speaking of growth Jasmican Toy tops for those of us that are listening to the drummer from the back that is playing softly because he is not sure of the part but trying valently to keep up.
Thank you,