What Should I Write?
I am ready for a big writing project. I made more money than ever last year, and I did it freelancing, so I feel ready to tackle that ambition that’s always hanging out there. I want to write a book and a movie and short stories and TV shows and essays and long magazine features. I’m ready for a big project — I’ve even started a few.
But, what exactly that project is going to be is unclear to me right now.
A friend asked me to work with him on a script about John Brown, which is fascinating, not because I’m particularly helpful, but because he’s a script reader and knows stuff about structure and formatting — stuff I never consciously think about — and it’s a cool topic.
I have a pretty fleshed out idea for a non-fiction book that I really ought to put a proposal together for. It’s about sports and money and stuff and I know it would be good and I know I could do it well and I think I could get a publisher too.
I also finally wrote the first chapter of the novel I’ve been thinking about, but I’m already not sure I like it. Not because it’s bad, more because I don’t know if I want to write a book where any character is a runner.
Because, here’s the thing: Do you write about characters that sound and look like you? Do you write ‘what you know?’ Or, do you write something totally different?
And, don’t tell me to “do what I’d do if no one was watching” or “if money isn’t an issue” or “what I love.” That shit is idiotic because it’s 1. inane - as if you actually think I’m going to say, “oh my god, I hadn’t thought about doing what I love, you just opened my eyes and set me free,” 2. fucking amateur hour - like using the word “passion” to describe how you feel about travel, when in fact no one feels strongly about the act of sitting in cars and trains and planes - which cheapens the entire discussion and 3. beside the point - if I wanted to write in a diary, I would just blog.
I am not interested in this new age pop psychology middle American bullshit. I am no more interesting in writing something no one wants to read than I am in walking an Ironman just to finish. It’s not that it couldn’t happen somewhere in the middle, but I’d like to start out with a slightly more optimistic goal. I’d like to know where what I want to do, what I’m good at, and what people will pay me for intersect.
But, I don’t know and no one will tell me. No one will say oh, yeah, you suck at that.
Here are my observations: I’m good at writing very quickly. If I think too much, I overthink and get bogged down in the whole thing. I love science fiction, but it’s challenging to do something different and new and well-thought-out. Writing about sports is hard, because it’s too easy to fall into cliches, even if you really know what you’re talking about and really want to write about sports. Writing about being 20-something is hard, because too many people think they know what that’s like, even if you are 20-something and they’re wrong.
So, I want to write a book about 20-somethings dealing with all that life shit and trying to make it in sports and struggling, but that just doesn’t seem like my strong suit. I don’t think it comes together — too much pathos, not enough humor. Which means I pretty much should write sci-fi short stories? Or a young adult fantasy novel?