I did something this year that I never in a million years imagined that I would. I joined a sorority. *Cue the gasps and cries of outrage. Ladies are fainting left and right.* It’s not really a “real” sorority, it’s a service sorority, but we still do some sorority-type things. Adding this gasp-worthy extracurricular activity to my resume had me thinking (again) about how I have never taken one of the big pieces of writing advice: that you have to live life and have experiences to write about them faithfully.
I like to think that I’m pretty good at pretending that I understand certain atmospheres that I’ve never experienced. Rejection, love, excitement, anything at all (please help, I’m dead inside). These are such strong, universal things, and I feel like I’ve missed out on some of them because I’m a hopeless shut-in. It seems like the more people you know, the more experiences you have, and I’m definitely meeting so many new people with this whole college shenanigans. (So many people, guys. It’s crazy and I love it, and it’s crazy that I love it. I always thought I hated people, but apparently I was just meeting the wrong kinds my whole life.) I must be due for a few human moments in the near future.
So yes, I suppose I’m going to try this whole “going outside” thing now. I hope that meeting all kinds of different people will help me to better develop my characters, and make them as dynamic as possible (I’ve been awakened to the importance of extraordinary characters recently, but that’s a whole other post). I want to develop some cool relationships so that I can write about them in knew ways. It’ll hopefully help push my writing to be even better and even more realistic. Wish me luck in writing and dealing with other humans.
There are moments in my live when I’m struck with the frantic need to do everything. I constantly feel like I’m running out of time to live life and do what I want. In three and a half measly years, I will have to have a real job and pay rent and all of that terrifying stuff. I’ll be so concerned with adult things that it’ll be even more difficult than it already is to write books. So, obviously, I need to write them all right now, right?
Thoughts like these make me realize just how much time I wasted in high school. I had so much time, and I did pretty much nothing with it. I didn’t write anywhere close to as much as I should have. And I can’t even blame life for getting in the way, because I wasn’t really living life. I was sitting alone in my room, doing nothing, a majority of the time. If there was such as thing as a professional time-waster, I would be the most prodigious one. What have I been doing up until now?
I am bound and determined to change this uneventful pattern. I need to be out living life and doing things, guys. And, though I say it all the time and never end up doing it, I need to write, god damn it. Why is it so hard? I need someone to stand by me 24/7 and shock me with a shock collar whenever I’m wasting my time. Any takers for this unpaid position?
I have been unhealthily obsessed with an internet show called Critical Role for quite a few months now. On Thursday nights, I’m prone to loud cheering, fits of laughter, and inconsolable sobbing, all due to a group of actors playing Dungeons and Dragons in front of a camera. If you had told me a year ago that most of my waking moments would be filled with thoughts of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, I honestly probably would have believed you. I have a slightly obsessive personality, and the fact that I’m so into this story isn’t that surprising. And, lord almighty, am I into this story.
This little fantasy improv game is consistently the highlight of my week, and it is the best story that I have ever encountered. The twists! The turns! The beautiful, emotional, heartwarming relationships between diverse and honest characters who are so flawed and realistic, but they try, and I love them! This story is so perfect that I can’t even be jealous of it, which is my normal reaction to stories that I love. I can only look on in awe and be inspired to be a better writer.
I could literally go on about this show for hours, so I’ll cut myself off here. I just need to say that my soul belongs to this story and when it ends, I am going to need to get very, very drunk and cry for three days straight. If you have exorbitant amounts of time on your hands, I recommend diving in really deep for the next two months of your life and getting just as obsessed as I am. Even if you don’t, I recommend the same.
As an English major, I have a pretty open field for the classes I can take while in college. Unlike pre-med or engineering people, I don’t have a set track (or high chances of getting a job after graduating, but that’s another post altogether. Just take pity on me when I’m poor and living under a bridge somewhere). I can be all loosey-goosey and take a bunch of really dope humanities courses, which is what I did this semester. One of the most fascinating things about my classes is that I can connect everything to something else I’m learning: Honors English connects to Gothic Horror connects to Greek and Roman Mythology connects to Western Civilization.
It’s been a great pleasure for me to draw parallels in all these different areas of the Humanities. It’s incredibly inspiring, and beautiful in a way, to think about the ways people all throughout history are connected to me today. And one day, people in the future will hopefully look back and wonder at the fact that I am connected to them. I don’t know, it’s just a cool thought I’ve had recently. Storytelling is so much more than entertainment- it’s history and emotion and connections. It makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger.
Think about that the next time you’re asking yourself why you bother with this art crap because it’s not like it’s going to make you any money. What you’re doing is bigger than money, bigger than the here and now. It’s part of one of the oldest human traditions, and that’s pretty awesome when you think about it.
Okay, I’m done with all the heartfelt hooey now. You may return to your normal lives.
I was sure that this post was going to be about how much I hate “reading work to the class” or just having anyone read my work in general. And that’s definitely part of it. I’ve hardly had to go through any workshops in my life, so it terrifies me when someone looks at what I’ve written with a critical eye. And it only makes it a million times worse when I have to read it out myself. My voice starts to sound super nervous because I apparently forget how to breath correctly or something, and then soon enough, I sound like I’m actually crying. That, in turn, just makes the whole situation awkward, on top of nerve-wracking. But I realized something else, besides how cringey I am, during the two workshops I endured this week: not only am I terrible at listening to critiques, I’m not good at giving them either.
Don’t get me wrong- I can catch grammatical errors like *insert name of famous baseball player* catches baseballs. It’s just the more in-depth stuff that I have trouble seeing, especially in things my peers wrote. I can tell that there’s something I don’t like about papers when I read them critically, but I can’t ever A) figure out what it is or B) tell someone how to fix it. Add on top of that my hate of confrontation, and my less-than-average speaking skills, and you have a recipe for a critiquing disaster.
So I would like to take this moment to formerly apologize to every classmate to whom I have given poor advice, or no advice at all. I literally have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m sorry if that negatively impacted your paper. Good day.
One of the first things we were warned about at college orientation was “impostor syndrome”- when you are surrounded by tons of brilliant people and decide that there is no way you belong among such genius. The honors orientation leader informed us that it was something that honors students especially tend to feel. Being the self-congratulatory person that I am, immediately after he mentioned it, I knew that I probably wouldn’t experience it. I looked forward to college because it meant finally having scholarly discussions that I had henceforth only had in my head.
I was all but certain that I wouldn’t experience this phenomenon, and I didn’t in some of my classes. I can keep up with philosophical conversation in Western Civ pretty well, if I do say so myself. I can easily grasp concepts in my Gothic Horror and Greek and Roman Mythology classes. But even still, my brain was determined to prove the orientation leader right in unexpected areas.
As an English and Creative Writing major, I was obviously most excited for my English class and my writing seminar. I thought I was prepared for them, but it only took until two classes in for me to feel like I didn’t belong. The people in my English class had incredible insights into the short stories we were reading, whereas I could only think along the lines of, “I liked this” or, “It was boring.” For the first assignment in my writing seminar, so many people had really creative pieces, while I played it safe. And thus, I was graced with impostor syndrome.
Let me just say that it sucks to be humbled, but it is completely necessary. When you think you’ve already learned everything you need, that you’re already great at what you do, you tend to not try as hard. But when you figure out that you aren’t all you thought you were, it pushes you to do better. In my case, it pushed me to look deeper into what I was reading, and to not take the easy way out when writing. It doesn’t help you to ride the middle- you have to constantly be striving for better to beat impostor syndrome.
The feeling that I’m but a peasant among lords has faded for the moment. I have completed other assignments where I actually really tried to be better, and that has helped me feel more worthy. But this coming week, we are workshopping the pieces, and I will see other people’s work in all its glory. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before the impostor syndrome is back with a vengeance. I guess I should enjoy my ignorant bliss while I can.
So college is a thing that’s happening to me right now. It’s been going on for nearly three weeks, which is crazy to think about. My life is just flying right by. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the fact that so far, college makes me think that I can get away with not writing anything.
I mean, sure, I do have more homework and studying to do because of college. I’ve had readings out the wazoo, not to mention lots of interesting, in-class discussions about said readings. There’s been an adjustment period to all of this, so I’ve allowed myself some time off writing. But I feel like at this point, it’s been too much time.
I am the queen of making excuses not to write. I always get it into my head that I don’t have time, and then I proceed to watch movies for five hours straight every night. I’m really annoying, guys.
So, yes, starting college has been my latest excuse to not work on any of my projects (aside from continuing to write weekly blog posts, which is actually a major success for me and I will pat myself on the back). I feel like my brain is so weird because I want to write things all the time, yet I still manage to procrastinate. It’s not a matter of motivation, so I have no idea what this anti-writing disease is, aside from supremely irritating.
Do any of you have this problem? Am I just crazy? Are we all crazy? I guess, keep tuning in as I try to answer these questions (most likely in the affirmative).