Just Keep Writing

Just keep writing.

You won’t always be understood. You won’t always be taken seriously or correctly. Your message might fall on deaf ears. Or hostile ears. Or ears with lots of opinions.

It doesn’t matter. If you have something to say, say it. The right people will find it.

That post your wrote that only one person read—that might have been just the encouragement that person needed. That little movie you made with your friends and no budget because you just had to get it out—that might become someone’s favorite movie, or a catalyst that inspires someone else’s long-shot story.

In his book, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting, the incomparable Robert McKee says, “In a world of lies and liars, an honest work of art is always an act of social responsibility.”

If you have an honest work inside you, something within you that needs to be said, say it. There’s a reason that spark is there—in life and in art, there are no accidents. So set it off. And pretty soon, you’ll have a bonfire, a career. You’ll be writer, and no one can take that away from you.

“A writer isn’t done being a writer until they decide they’re done.
No matter what has gotten in your way: Just. Keep. Writing.”

Just keep writing.

—G (and @Massawyrm)

A Beacon of Light

song in my head — “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

Why do I create?

I create because I have to. Storytelling is like oxygen to me, courses through my veins like blood. But plenty of artists say similar things. There are plenty of us out there who would say things like "I would write if no one read it" or "I would still write if I didn't get paid."

But here's a little paradox I've discovered about myself.

I only write for myself, but I find it very hard to write if no one is listening.

What do I mean?

I write what’s inside of me in what I hope is a way that only I can. My inner imaginations and passions and voice are my fuel; nothing external like "the market" will inspire me to write something. I think stories are like puzzles, and that almost any idea that I chew on for a bit could be a story worth telling. Otherwise, why would it come to me? I'm so dedicated to this idea, in fact, that I have “stories” in my head that are only titles! I have no idea what the rest of the tale will be, but the title sparked something so deep in me that I can't and won't let it go. It's like a key that unlocks a box—I only have to find the box.

That said…

Though I may write for myself, I believe writing is communication above all else. I write to express and communicate my inner workings. So while I don't write for you—some imaginary audience member with market-tested tastes or who likes certain genres—I do write for You—that person out there who maybe, just maybe, sees the world a little bit like I do. I don't know who you are, or how many of you are out there, but my hope is that if I write enough words, if I spark enough fires and let the ashes float out into the ether, that someday we'll find each other.

What I'm doing here—scribbling down my thoughts every day, writing my fanciful stories—it's not a marketing strategy. It's a beacon of light in a dark forest; I'm lost, like you. But I'm finding a way.

Perhaps we can find our way together.

— G

Finding Stan Lee

song in my head — “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional

When it comes to art, the voice of the artist matters.

But what does "voice" even mean?

Voice, I believe, is perspective, and perspective is the key to making good art. It's the inner viewpoint you're trying to outwardly communicate.

Okay, yes, voice has a little bit to do with how you tell your story—your choice of genre, the pacing, the tone and use of language, violence (or lack thereof), description (or lack thereof), etc. But that's superficial skin compared to the necessary meat beneath.

In my opinion, an artist's "voice" makes an artist; it's why they create. Your art should be the reflection of a conglomeration of experiences, interests, emotions, opinions, beliefs, world views, and everything else that adds up to make you who you are. If this voice or perspective is missing, the audience will know it. They might have enjoyed the recipe you concocted, but it won’t be a lasting taste.

And worst of all, it won’t last for you as the artist, not in the deeper, meaningful way that it should.

So, ask yourself this: could anyone create the thing you just created? If so, you owe it to yourself and the people you hope to serve to try harder to be you. Inject every word and every scene with your theme—what you think and what you want to say, and leave finding the audience to the birds.

Because I genuinely believe that if you put something with perspective out in the world, and that you craft this with skill and style and understanding, you will find fans. And those fans will follow you anywhere. So don't be afraid to create the strangest thing you can, something unique that sings of only you. If it has a heartbeat, the audience will find it. The right tribe will embrace it.

Anyone can create a superhero. There have been knock-offs of characters with powers and superhero stories since we've been telling stories! But not everyone could’ve created Spider-man. Stan Lee wrote what Stan Lee wrote because only Stan Lee could write it.

People like us do things like this.

We see then that the answer isn't to "be Stan Lee."

The answer is to find the Stan Lee within you. Who are you? What do you do? What do you stand for?

Now go stand.

— G