Tuesday, July 25, 2006

There's nothing wrong with being earnest

Yesterday as I was googling, I came across this: The Process of Being Mentally Ill, Part One. It's from Joshilyn Jackson's blog: Faster Than Kudzu and describes, in extensive, witty detail, the mental breakdown stage of novel writing...at least from one author's perspective.

Read it. It's both comforting and hilarious at the same time.

Small world, the internet. Faster Than Kudzu is the first writer's blog I ever read. I came across it about 2 years ago when Jackson's first novel Gods in Alabama was about to be published. To be honest, her blog scared me away from writer's blogs for a long time. Why? My own insecurities of course! I found Faster Than Kudzu to be clever, entertaining, informative, and completely intimidating. After reading a couple of entries, I thought if this is what real writers have to be able to do, I don't have a prayer.

Joshilyn Jackson is cool and honest and funny. I'm earnest and a dork. The thing I've come to realize, however, is that there are lots of writers out there and just as many types of writers. Sure there are those who enjoy cool, honest, funny writing, but there might be a place for the earnest dorks of the world as well. And even if there isn't, it doesn't mean that I can't write or that I shouldn't write. (Yes, I'm trying to bolster myself up here.)

It's interesting, coming back to her blog now that she has two books out. (The second is called: Between, Georgia) She's developed quite a following. I think it's a good example of how a writer can use a blog help publicize herself. (Although, I doubt generating publicity was the reason she started blogging, or why she keeps at it.)

Obviously, I don't have a problem with writer's blogs anymore. In fact, I now follow several. (Note to self: Make a list of links!) I'm not sure my confidence level is quite high enough to regularly read Faster Than Kudzu, but I'm sure I'll be up to it eventually.


Cindy said...

As a fellow dork, I can certainly relate. For instance, Diana Gabaldon intimidates the hell out of me. (As an aside, I've met her twice at signings, and both times I mumbled and blushed and - just barely - managed to say hello.)
If what she does is writing, then I'm hooped.

Some days I write just because I need to, but sometimes it's laced with desperation. I feel like I'm trying to be born, trying to make the transition from hobby to pro. (The only difference to me is the cheque...) (g)

All you can ever be is yourself, and that, incidentally, is the one original thing you have to offer to the world - if you dare. After all, dorks are warm and loving people, and we like to make people laugh. Add some talent, some life experience and a stiff drink, and presto! Writer.

Mrs. Mitty said...

Ooh, can I be in the earnest dork club, can I, huh? I'm sure I'm qualified! :D

I enjoyed the Kudzu link, too. Good to know we're not alone, eh?

Renée said...

Glad to know I'm not the only earnest dork out there!

Cindy- I know what you mean about Diana Gabaldon. She writes so beautifully--I can't hope to do what she does! She critiqued a short story of mine once and I had to sit across from her and watch her read it. Talk about nervewracking!

"All you can ever be is yourself, and that incidentally, is the one original thing you have to offer the world..." You are exactly right. It's taken me a while to learn this (and sometimes I still have trouble remembering) but it helps so much when the urge to compare rears its ugly head.

Thanks so much!

Renée said...

mrs. mitty- Sure you can! Glad you liked the link. It is good to know we're not alone and it's also inspiring to read about someone who's achieved one of our goals, don't you think? :o)