Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Problem of Advice

"Sorry, I can't hear you. Way too busy not listening to anyone else's bullshit."

It's funny that I blog at Pub Hub because I don't like talking about writing very much. I think it's a niche of a niche, talking about writing, not to speak of talking about writing a specific genre. Also, when it comes to creative writing, I think we all teach ourselves how to do it, via our own practice and reading and habits. If we want to write, that is. I say this as a teacher of actual creative writing. I don't know if I teach so much as validate people's desires? Who knows. Let's not think about it too much, shall we?

To be honest, I don't find the act of writing all that interesting. Even if you storyboard or plot chart or movie-cast or set up a Pinterest Design Inspirations page. Even if you do it hanging from a sequoia or in your studio in Brooklyn or on the goddamn night-train to Kathmandu.

I like writing - don't get me wrong. It feels very good to me, most of the time.

I just don't want to talk about it to a mass audience.

Here's me talking about my current writing situation:

Right now I'm working on my 4th book. It's due in a couple of weeks. My kid is finally outta my hair due to the miracle of American public school so I'm ready to dig back in. That feels good, but it looks very boring. I also just released by 3rd book. So there's some time to be spent on promoting that. Meanwhile, my 5th book is peeking over the fence in my mind and asking me to do some research.

^ All that? Very boring. I don't care if you skipped it. I hope you did skip it. It doesn't matter to you, anyway, and it never will. Like one's fitness regime, or one's new diet, one's writing situation matters very much, but only to the individual involved. Not to anyone else.

This is why advice sucks. Nobody is the same and everybody's situation is a series of spinning plates that shift in speed and position.

Chalk it up to my daddy issues, but I've always had trouble with advice. I don't want to hear it; I want to learn by trying and doing on my own. Also, advice is the favorite clutch toy of the anxious. Advice often gets deployed when people want to reinforce some notion of control in a disorderly world. As one of the anxious, I reject it. Everything is easier said than done. And nobody thinks about what to do more than an anxious person. I understand this is a particular sensitivity of mine. A bias.

You know what you should do? 

Eww. That phrase makes me flinch. You should stop using it. You should stop listening to it.*

In fact, stop listening to anyone else and only listen to your own voice. There is so much goddamn noise in this world. What are you trying to hear? What are you trying to understand? That's what matters.

Because there is only what feels good. Go toward it. Fuck everything else.

*Shit. I just gave advice here. I'm sorry. The struggle is real, yall.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a firm believer that the hardest thing to do to "become a writer" is to figure out your own process. And I think that can take years, and it can be frustrating, but there you have it. Once you find that process, though, and figure out what works for you (most of the time) then I think things get easier.
    People just gotta do what works for them.