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Scribere ergo sum

June 5, 2008

I won’t bore you with the particulars of the many thousands of words I’ve been writing this week, but suffice it to say that it’s some deeply nerdy shit. Nth level geekery, of the stuff five years ago I never would have even dreamed being paid to write. Today, not only am I getting paid to write it, it’s my primary means of maintaining my lifestyle; I haven’t gotten my first paycheck from a full month of freelancing, but I expect it to be ‘not bad’. “Enough”, rather.

Certainly with this week’s efforts I’m working to make my second paycheck even more adequate. And it’s all because I am now allowed to string words together into (semi) coherent sentences about a subject I feel passionate about. I’m a blogger, yes. I’m a games journalist, maybe. But mostly I’m a writer. The only time in my life I was ever stupid enough to think I could be a writer professionally was at the tail end of my freshman year in college. It lasted all of … maybe four months? And yet here I am.

One of the clearest memories I have from my first Gen Con is sitting in a corner of the Wizards of the Coast castle listening to Ed Greenwood tell stories. Ed’s gotten a lot of flack over the years, but I respect the hell out of him for sheer number of words he’s put out there. To say nothing of the Realms themselves; as strange and pulled-at as they’ve gotten over the years, he’s made a life’s work out of his home campaign. That’s freaking amazing.

Ed’s telling stories, and he gets asked a lot of questions over the course of the hour or so I have between play sessions. It’s free to sit there and listen to him, and he’s expounding on the Realms, stuff he ran back in the day … many things. Someone asks him, kind of jokingly, “Hey, so how do you become a writer? It seems like a sweet gig.” He laughs, and says the one of the few ‘life lessons’ that has remained burned in my brain all these years. His response was something like:

“It’s actually really hard. Being a writer isn’t a choice. If you have to write, if it’s what you have to do, every day … if what you do is write, then you’re a writer. Writing is an action, not a job or a state of mind or a profession. It’s an act. And if you do it, you’re a writer. And nobody can tell you any different.”

I think I’m pushing something like 30,000 words for this week. It’s utilitarian, it’s incredibly boring to vast swaths of humanity, and is impenetrable jargon to most of my friends and family. But … it’s writing. I’m a writer.

Utterly weird, and completely wonderful. Thanks, reality.

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One comment

  1. As long as you enjoy writing it, that is what is important. It doesn’t matter if it is 300 words or 30,000 as long as you get something out of it.

    Personally, I can’t imagine writing that much. I’m hard pressed to squeeze out 10,000 words in a week, but I’m not too concerned about how much I write.

    Write your passion,

    Eric :)



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