Why I Write.

Here I am. Step one, mile one. Typing as if I have something to say. Which is crazy. Because I do have something to say!

IRL* (in real life)—yes, I inverted the acronym/spelling parenthetical on purpose. *It’s a joke. I talk—a lot. I also laugh at my own jokes—a lot.

I don’t stop talking. Not even when I’m alone. Nope. I keep talkin’. Out loud. If you see me walking on the street, I’m not on the phone. I’m talking to myself. I’m just wearing my ear buds so you think I’m on the phone. But I’m not.

I talk because I have something to say and jokes to make.

I talk because I haven’t read, heard or met anyone who has a voice quite like mine.

In my twenties, I wrote all. the. time. I wrote more than I talked. (Or at least an equal amount.) In the last three years, my life has changed a lot, and in the transition I fell out of writing.

Instead of writing, I’ve been talking—a lot.

But when you say things they are gone. Writing is what captures my ideas.

She’s in there. I promise. If you stick with this, you might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of now.

I write because I have something to say and jokes to make.

I write because I haven’t read, heard or met anyone who has a voice quite like mine.

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A Rant and a Pep Talk

My most confused point about blogging—each post is an independent first draft. The posts make up the blog, which as a whole evolves the message, voice and point of view. An ideology of fast ideation to achieve growth verses methodical revision to produce growth.

It seems no one likes to stop and think anymore. Blogging and Tweeting are designed to bypass the distinguished filters of an editorial process. Don’t wait to get it right—post it and let the people tell you what’s wrong with it.

Having the ability to post and share whenever we want has unleashed an unnerving peer-and-industry-pressured impulse to share our thoughts as soon as we think them, even if they are not complete thoughts but blurts of an emotion.

If I had a nickel for every time someone has publicly apologized for something they tweeted (because the tweet was misunderstood or just a fucked up and unnecessary thing to say), I would have a whole lotta nickels. If those same people had to wait 24-thought-processing hours before sharing on social media, I bet one of two things would happen:

They would clarify their thought and avoid being misinterpreted or misunderstood. (An editorial process.)

OR

They would forget about the mundane, inconsequential thought that they just had to share because they have moved on with their lives (instead tracking the thought through likes, shares, follows, retweets and comments written just as impulsively).

Blogging is definitely not as impulsive as tweeting.

This is all to say that I need to worry about perfection less and start sharing more—fast ideation to achieve growth. If I’m right, and I am a good writer, that will shine through even if they are not the most polished posts.

It will be scary, like practicing in front of an audience. Maybe if I imagined you in your underwear…

 

I Quit…TV.

Focus on now. Not being overwhelmed by the amount to do. Not doubting the end result. Focus on NOW.

Each day I am making positive changes that are slowly (but [if I am consistent and cumulative] surely) helping to progress toward my goal—my book.

So I’m not going to get upset at myself for having lived four city blocks from a San Francisco Public Library for two years and never once going inside. I am not going to get upset at myself for all those times that I reasoned, “Eh, I have nothing I really feel like reading,” and instead watched mindless TV. Instead, I will focus on what I can do NOW.

Last weekend—my first official weekend as a blogger (am I a blogger? Don’t you have to have a certain number of posts or followers or retweets or starts or stripes? Perhaps those people are Bloggers, capital B)—I was exploring the vast world of WordPress. My topics of interest, of course, center around “writing” and “book publishing.”

I stumbled up Author Raimey Gallant‘s post, Developing Your Reading List: A Strategy for Authors. In addition to her reassuring words, “Try not to be overwhelmed [by the overwhelming amount you need to read],” she offered advice to help encourage a personalized reading curriculum.ª

Within minutes of finishing the post (and a mini-panic attack—so much for not feeling overwhelmed), I registered online for a library card, and was out my front door.

I checked out three books:

  1. Hungry Heart, the newly-published memoir by Jennifer Weiner, which I consumed (no pun intended) in four days.
  2. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. She is 31! If she’s not too young to write a memoir, neither am I.
  3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess.

I also quit TV.

Time to get reading!

 

 

ªAt a particularly low-moraled moment of my 9-5 week, I checked my Gmail. Someone is following my blog! Thank you, Raimey Gallant for being my first visitor, reader and follower. *:)

Before You Get What You Want, You Have to Do What You Need.

Take a deep breath…

Now, visualize what you wantwant to happen. Want to be.

Things don’t just happen. In real life, as an adult, if you want to be extraordinary, you have to try.

It’s easy to coast along. Work week: commute, exercise, happy hour, return home to a nightly routine of preparing for the next day. Weekends: laundry, social plans, marveling at the kids—they grow up so fast.

But if you want something to change, you have to try. You have to be thoughtful and proactive. Lean forward. Disrupt routine.

***

I moved to California for many reasons. To get away from winter. To get away from my family’s doubtful opinions of me. But also, to write a book.

Have I mentioned I’m writing a book? It’s called Let Me Out I’m Stuck.

You’ve probably never heard of it though because I haven’t finished writing it yet (not to mention the professional proposal and polished pitch I need to attract a publisher).

Four years ago, I arrived in San Diego, California with a New Yorker’s swagger and determination. (I also arrived with no idea of how complicated, tedious and time consuming it was to write a book.)

My first summer here I proudly pronounced, “The Summer of Writing!” With four months vacation from my contracted copywriting gig (and very few friends within 3,000 miles), I committed to transcribing my New York journals onto my laptop. Eight years of City escapades and self exploration packed into three hundred typed pages of exercises in candor and wit.

First Draft

After two months of diligent digitization, I printed and bound my first draft at 2nd Street Printing in Encinitas, California.

For the remainder of the summer, I remember pouring over those bound pages. I added creative writing assignments I had written throughout the years and wrote new, scenic prose to introduce the reader into my world. I meticulously shaped the first fifty pages, focusing on my “hook,” as they call it in the publishing biz.  

Then, I got distracted by a complicated living situation. In the two years I lived in San Diego, I packed up and movedª five times.

After the fifth move, I decided to leave Southern California. I put my book on hold to apply for jobs in San Francisco—Which is where I live now, working at yet another corporate copywriting job (this one without a four-month summer break).

Work week: commuting, exercising, happy hour-ing, returning home to a nightly routine preparing for the next day. Weekends: laundry, social plans, marveling at the kids, experiencing the city.

***

This month marks two years in San Francisco. Four in California!

I moved to California as a result of trying, leaning forward, disrupting.

I moved to California to write a book.

No more distractions, Charlotte! You’re accountable now.

So, take a deep breath…

Visualize what you want.

I want to share my voice and vision with the world by writing a book.

Good. Now, what needs to happen/what do you need to do to make that happen?

Many things.

Today’s post is focused on the acknowledgement of two:

(1.) Read more. I recently changed my commute to secure a half hour to forty five minutes on the bus to read each morning on my way to work. (My previous commute required switching from bus to BART, ten minutes on each. Sure, I got to work faster, but was that really my objective? The great thing about public transportation is that someone else is driving! I might as well relax, turn the page and enjoy the ride.

This weekend, I plan to finish the Handmaid’s Tale. My next book is How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh. I saw her on Chelsea Hander’s new Netflix series. If that chick can write a book, so can I.

(2.) Write more. Content is reliant on production (more on this later). Starting today, right now, I am making myself accountable to a weekly 2-3 hour writing session every Thursday evening. 

 

ªShout out to Tttttravis who actually moved my stuff.

To My Hypothetical Readers

I have so many ideas!

But they are all stuck.

Stuck behind my nine-to-five job.

Stuck behind commuting and groceries.

Stuck behind doing laundry, exercising and socializing.

Stuck behind hours of Real Housewives and the Bachelor.

Stuck behind long distances relationships, and weekends spent flying to see family that’s six hours away, or a boyfriend whose one point five.

Stuck behind sleeping.

On a recent six-hour flight, I watched Julie & Julia. The based-on-a-true-story movie stars Amy Adams as Julie, a struggling writer desperately needing a self-promoting project. 

Naturally, she decides to write a blog. Through daily posts, she takes her readers on an emotional rollercoaster of devastation (killing lobster) and disappointment (flopping soufflé).

By the end of the two-hour romcom, both Julie and her life are transformed.

The lesson? Writing a blog holds you accountable to your goals.

Lobstercide, schmobstercide. I can’t be deterred. My hypothetical readers are counting on me!

I need a self-promoting propelling project.

Propelling, not promoting. Because unlike Julie, my intention is not to prove my self worth as an unmarried, childless woman working as a writer in a city (which I also happen to be). This project is to propel me forward by holding me accountable to my ideas—and goals.

So here goes nothing!

Stuck, schmuck. I can’t be deterred. My hypothetical readers are counting on me!

Let Me Out I’m Stuck.