My relationship with writing has always been a little strained. If the words aren’t coming, I can’t force them to come. I’ll start something, and if I put it down for even a day or two, the magic of the piece will be gone. That’s how it took almost a year to get Tomahawk out. Sad as this is to say, that book is barely 15k words but I just couldn’t get it done.
That’s also the reason I haven’t been able to finish those four Kickstarter books. When I started the KS campaign, I had healthy chunks of the books finished, and I stupidly thought I’d be wrapping them all up together. Then the end of 2016 hit and the collective psyche of a big portion of my friends took a shit, and I lost track of the books, and then I could never find my way back into them.
But now it’s back. I got back to it in a few different ways:
- This blog. Writing this thing every single day, no matter what’s going on in my life (and there has been a lot going on in my life the past six months) has trained the muscle in my brain to sit down and put words on a screen. I needed that.
- The death of social media. Or at least, the death of my giving a shit about social media. It can’t be overstated how something like Twitter hijacks your brain until everything you do comes to be in the service of that demon. You can’t focus on a book because all of your ideas are thought of in terms of posting. If you’re in the shower and you think “I should tweet that,” your brain has been hijacked.
- Finding other creative people who are unbothered by the politics of the moment. I needed to be able to absorb and live inside art, books, and podcasts that weren’t trapped inside the constant present. A book, for example, is something that is written over time, and therefore you have to be able to sustain that mood, which is impossible when your tribe, the people around you, are switching up the things that are important to them day to day to day. You need cohorts with a mission. Leading me to…
- The group chat with Kelby and Lucas. It sounds simple because it really is: having two friends on a Signal chat to whom I can vent, share good news, and express my unacceptable thoughts. The online space becomes something else once you have an outlet for all of this stuff. It’s easy to achieve attention when you’re only trying to get the attention of two people. When that number is infinite, two people seems like nothing. With a group chat, that’s 100%.
I was driving back home from dropping off Rios from work today and I was thinking about the book I’m working on. I approached it in a completely open way, without knowing where it’s going to go or what I want it to do. And that entices me to write every day. What is going to happen? I puzzle over it on my way home, and when the boy is napping, I start writing. Each paragraph, I aim to entertain myself. And I let it go where it wants to go.
And every funny or good thought I have goes into the work. The Twitter is now mostly boring. I won’t be having anymore banger tweets. I spent four years giving that ephemeral platform some really good stuff. What a waste! But it’s not good to dwell on it. It’s important to keep working on your art.
It feels great to be back.