Winter has finally come to Sacramento. Usually it is a very dull, uneventful few months with little rain and nothing remarkable to speak of. We haven't any snow, it is rare that a day begins with the sun behind clouds and ends in the same fashion, and it's a city seemingly built upon the backs of rude individuals who strive to make your life and your holidays that much more miserable. Nevertheless, for the last week it has been cloudy and rainy, and even snowy at one point. Granted, the day that it snowed only about a half inch stuck to the ground and it disappeared as soon as the sun came up.
Anyhow, the reason I bring all of that up is because recently I was driving around with a friend and listening to music. As we drove through the sheets of rain and I looked out over the city of Sacramento I could feel my mind beginning to churn. I've had an idea for a while about a story I want to write and inspiration suddenly hit me. When I told my friend, who is also a writer, he informed me that I was being too artsy. For a good fifteen minutes I rambled off some inane idea, much of it based around the weather.
In theory it is an archaic and overly used device: the weather reflects the mood. Whenever you see the storm clouds brewing in the distance you immediately think of bad events to come, though if you're from Sacramento, where it rarely rains, it's a strange feeling of refreshment. Well, for me anyhow. Nevertheless, if I were to introduce a story with the weather I would be blasted. And yes, yes, I know, if I do it well then nobody will complain.
There exists in our community a group of elitists who refuse to accept certain ideas. Whether it be overly describing a persons facial features or talking about the rain, they tell us that we are not doing the job of a proper storyteller. Instead, we are waxing poetic, we've got our heads in the clouds and we're too busy describing the shape of one of them to proceed with the story.
It seems that this is the same group of people who refuse to evolve. They use the same old cliches and recycle the same old plot lines. Yes, yes, I know, every story idea ever thought of has been written. Nothing is original. Nothing is new. Why? Mostly because we are told not to go into that territory, that we would be risking being labeled a bad writer by the writing community because we spent a paragraph describing a man's face in exact detail. Or, if we use words which would otherwise be considered too strange. Instead of talking to our audience as adults, we are forced to assume they are unable to understand words with four syllables. On the opposite end, we can no longer be simple and use the word "said" a bit too much.
And the odd thing with all of this? Some of the most popular books are written with these flaws. Simplicity is not an insult to intelligence, nor is intelligence an insult to simplicity. In many circles you will find people who still, despite their success, insult these writers because they gave in and used a certain style that is otherwise thought poorly of. And no, I won't be the one to laugh it off as jealousy - it goes beyond that. It is a strange inability to find confidence within yourself, so instead you must tear apart the work of others to make yours seem so much better.
I wonder how many writers write for the enjoyment of the process. I wonder how many writers actually enjoy the process. Yes, yes, I know it is a cliche to ask this, but has writing turned into a job? Sure, all things that we do professionally is a job in the most basic of definitions, but if you knew you would never receive a single scrap of money or recognition from writing, I wonder if you would ever bother.
And here I am, speaking ill of those who spend their lives speaking ill of others. In truth, I am not an amazing or great writer. My grammar is terrible and often I forgot whether I should put the apostrophe in its or not. Hell, half of the time I forget how many S's are in disappearance or how many R's are in reference. Nevertheless, I am a writer who writes for the enjoyment of it. Most of the time my stories begin with the setting, with the world around the character. I also tend to enjoy describing and fleshing a character out, though my greatest offense is using the word said.
In the end, I am a writer for the sake of writing. I don't do it because I want to. At times my obsession to write actually harms me emotionally. I've lost friends, I've spent much of my youth in a bedroom typing, and I'm unable to have a single night of proper sleep because I think so much that I cannot find enough energy to close my eyes and shut up. I write because I am a writer, simple as that.
EDIT: I forgot to clarify that when I say our community I am speaking of the writing community as a whole, not just these forums.
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