Plain White Ts, One Direction, and the Story of My Life

Come on. Is there some connection here that I don’t recognize? Because Story of My Life reminds me of a Plain White Ts song so strongly that it actually took me a week to realize the song wasn’t being sung by Plain White Ts—you know, at about the time I bought the mp3 from Amazon.

On another note, I’m not writing. Who the hell knows why. I’m totally in a shitty writing place right now and I don’t know why and even though I’ve spent the last 6 days doing nothing much but reading fiction, I still don’t feel better.

And that’s the story of my life…

Confession. A lot of writers talk about how they’re driven to write. Well, I’m driven to read. I write because I want to and I like it, but I’m not driven. If I could get paid to just sit and read everybody else’s stories, I’d probably write a short story or two a year and that’d be it.

Even writing fan fiction was hard for me. I liked doing it, and I was motivated by my interactions with my friends, but I didn’t feel driven to write those stories. I mean, I don’t think I did. My last big fan fic was for Grimm. I don’t have any Grimm fandom friends, but I only started with a very short piece but because of comments I wrote more, and then more, and more again. As long as the comments kept coming, I’d have probably kept writing, but I turned on to self-publishing just about the time I got most of the way done with my last Grimm fic and I moved on to writing original fiction again.

I wish I was driven. If that were the case, I’d probably be a lot less like I am now: constantly searching for the one true way, the one best system, the ultimate schedule that would make reaching my writing goals effortless. But maybe that’s my problem, having this idea that anything can be effortless. Is it all a myth? A dream? A falsehood propagated by self-help gurus and feel-good enthusiasts?

Sometimes writing does feel effortless. I guess it’s silly of me to think that effortlessness should be the way it feels most of the time. Instead, that feeling of effortlessness is something I’m always striving to attain (and it’s a damn lot of effort I put into that too!) but hardly ever reaching.

I often wonder if the writers who claim to be driven to write or die really are that obsessed or if it’s some kind of self-delusional mind game they play with themselves, or if they just don’t have enough other interests to hold their attention, or if they’re control freaks who love to read but can’t let go of the idea of how a particular story should go.

I’ve heard many times of the writers who started out because they preferred to write their own endings to stories they’d read. Never happened to me. I just started from scratch and wrote my own stuff. I didn’t start writing fan fiction until I’d been writing for nearly 10 years. Even when I first heard of it, I thought it was silly. And then I did it and discovered there was definitely fun to be had playing with characters and situations that had already been set up, and the what-if became my favorite pastime.

It’s a conundrum. Really.

Some days, I really hate writing.

Which is funny, because I really love writing.

And that’s the real story of my life.