Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What does it take to be a writer?

Often when I tell people I'm a writer, their first question is, for reasons I cannot comprehend, "Oh, have you sold anything?" I've gotten quite good at working my way around that question, because as of right now, the answer is still no. So it becomes, "No, but I have a blog you can follow", or, more often, "No, but I'm really busy with school right now." I figure it's not worth the effort to explain even as much as "No, but I've finished three novels", or "No, but I just sent a bunch of stories off", and especially not "No, but I just got my 20th rejection letter, so I'm treating myself!"

I've always thought it's a rather odd situation. If I told people I work at a restaurant, or an accounting firm, they wouldn't ask if I've been paid yet. It gets to the point where I'd rather tell someone about my day job than my real passion, just to avoid awkward questions. And yet, the day job is only there to support my favorite activity: spending hours sequestered off in my own little worlds, exhausting myself (or at least my brain and fingers) on something that may or may not one day give me some money.  Writing's not exactly something a person commits their time to unless they're passionate about it.Why then does it seem so hard to feel justified in claiming the title of 'writer'?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Writing has Changed (For Me) Since the 1970s--Part Three

In Which I Join the Working World and (Much Later) the Computer Age

Here's a page from "All My Crewmen." You'll note it was printed in good ol' 'dirty purple.'
Two pages from "In Memorium."  These are scanned from the master, which I still own.
When I dropped out of college, moved away from home, and got a job, I discovered that I didn't have nearly as much time to write as I had when I was in college.  Part of it was the fact that I had discovered science fiction fandom and become very active in a Star Trek fan club.  Even there I used my writing--I helped publish a newsletter, and dabbled in writing Star Trek fan fiction with my roommate (All My Crewmen).  I also wrote a Star Trek play--which is odd, for I've never really wanted to write scripts.  In Memorium was performed, at a local science fiction convention, in 1976.  (I obviously wasn't nearly as curmudgeonly about spelling back then, as I never bothered to look up the spelling of 'memoriam.')