Welcome to the first post from the Bat Cave, a blog about writing and general interest topics. My name is Megan, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid banging away on my parent’s typewriter. Short stories, poems, movie reviews, ramblings about life (probably not very meaningful at 12 years old but they seemed utterly important at the time), I would write whenever I had the chance, about whatever popped into my head at any given moment.
Then I grew up and learned about outlines and research and themes, and got wrapped up in the minutiae of how to write while forgetting the joy of just putting pen to paper, letting the mind wander and exploring anything that came to mind. (Not that outlines and research aren’t important, they are, but sometimes you just need to write whatever comes to mind and worry about the editing and professionalism later). Cue writer’s block. I was suddenly stuck, over-analyzing every idea until it became as dull as reading about statistical analysis (apologies to statistical analysts, but how do you not fall asleep reading that stuff?) and the story would fall to pieces or be buried under my own insecurities.
There were also the necessities of daily life and earning a living that started to take precedence over my “hobby” as it was generally taken to be. Who earns a living as a writer? I got that a lot and, in some ways, it’s true. Not everyone is going to be a Mark Twain or an Ayn Rand. Writing for a living can be difficult; images of starving artists come to mind (that hobo asking for bus fare is writing the next Moby Dick, I swear). So you think, I can support myself working at the coffee shop and write in my spare time; before you know it I’ll have my first book published and I’ll be laughing at those silly people who said it was a pipe dream. If that ever worked for someone out there, good on you, but I’m willing to bet that for most people who have ever tried this, it did not work out quite so smoothly. For me, that one job blossomed into three as I struggled to make a living and earn enough for those luxuries like food and an apartment. By the time you’re done for the day, you’re a zombie not a writer, or at least a zombie writer which can result in some interesting, if unusual, tidbits (I once wrote a poem about a hobo couch, not even kidding). Either way, the fun things like writing tend to end up on the back burner.
These are struggles that continue, but the way to improve a skill is to put in the work. So if you’re a musician you keep playing through the off notes until you know the piece backwards and forwards. By the same token a writer has to work through the terrible first stories to get to the slightly less terrible stories and eventually something like a good one just might end up on the page. It’s time to take the expectations out of the equation and just enjoy the process.
Lucky for me, now that I’m down to one day job, I find myself with something called spare time and am relishing the chance to get back to the good stuff, the passions that make life so much fun. With all the distractions of life and work, writing may have taken a backseat from time to time, but I never once forgot the joy that comes from having my thoughts and dreams made concrete. So this blog is an outlet for my passion and, hopefully, if you find your way here and any of this sounds familiar or resonates with you in some way, you’ll stick around, keep reading, maybe even start writing your own stories. Practice makes perfect, or at least better, so join me as I write stories, articles, rants, whatever. Laugh and learn with the bad and maybe we’ll get better as we go, or maybe not, but it’s certain to be plenty of fun.