2007 Writing Journal – Part 5

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I’m taking a blog break to do another Project October. In place of my normal blog posts during July, I will be posting in nine parts a writing journal I completed as the major assessment piece of my final master’s subject called The Writerly Self.

This is Part 5.

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2 April 2007
The CEO tried to fire me today. I’d indicated to my direct supervisor that I wanted to leave and had suggested working another three months in order to save some money and complete all my outstanding projects, and then take an extended break from working to focus on writing. That wasn’t good enough for him apparently. He can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to work here. Trying to fire people who want to leave is just the icing on my cake of reasons for not wanting to be here anymore.

I just spent three pages in this week’s discussion thread talking about how I’m my own ideal reader, but I guess in reality, I’m my own ideal everything. My own ideal boss, my own ideal colleague, my own ideal sister and daughter. Everyone I’ve talked to about this says I have to stop being so nice and start being selfish. Days like today make me very, very eager to give it a red hot go.

I’ll be thirty this year. I started writing my first novel when I was sixteen (it was really only long enough to be a novella) and I’ve been writing in some form or another ever since, poetry, screenplays and novels being the big three, but without much success (although I admit success is hard when I’ve never sent my writing out to anyone, reasoning that it’s not ready, that I’m not ready). I wonder if there is a point at which I should give up and become a teacher. Everyone says I’d make a great English teacher. But I’m not sure if I want to be classified as one of those people who couldn’t do it so taught it instead.

3 April 2007
Okay, so I have finally bitten the bullet and succumbed, acknowledging that my second proposed project for The Writerly Self is not going to satisfy me, let alone the grading requirements of the assessment piece. I suppose I’ll have to hope that this writing journal does meet those requirements. Thank goodness I’ve been writing it as a back-up all along. I guess maybe I knew somewhere deep down that this assessment piece, no matter what it ended up being, was going to be a struggle.

But I’ve already stated my opinion that writing journals are a waste of time. Five thousand words spent on something I’d rather not be writing. Five thousand words that could comprise 25% of the last 20,000 words I need to write to finish my novel. But it’s life, I guess. I spend ten hours a day at a job I have grown to hate, wishing I could be spending that time writing. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a spare few hours in which I scribble some notes or scratch out a few pages, but it’s rare. I’ve said it all along. Time is the scarcest resource in my writer’s toolbox.

4 April 2007
I wrote about William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in week 4 as an example of a book that effectively manages the transaction between mind and culture and it has snowballed into a full on discussion of the depths and layers of the text, mostly between Jim and myself. It’s great actually, but I think it is also giving me insight into the differences between the male and female reader, as well as the male and female writer. I constantly worry about the authenticity of my male characters, the way they act and talk, but I just bet it’s not something that male writers worry about in the context of their female characters. What is it Jack Nicholson’s character says in As Good As It Gets? Something like to write women, he thinks of a man and then takes away reason and accountability. Okay, so maybe they’re not all as bad as that, but I’ve had first-hand experience of a male writer either refusing or not being able to understand that women characters are more than eye candy. It’s the whole reason I started writing in an action genre.

In fact, this course and the people I’ve met through it have been the genesis of my novel. I actually thought I’d gotten to the point of not wanting to write novels anymore. When I started this course in July 2005, I was exclusively writing screenplays. Now I’m 80% of the way through writing a novel. I still think I’m a much better scriptwriter than novelist but it has given my abilities (or at least my recognition of my abilities) a greater breadth. John Grisham writes both novels and screenplays. Same with Larry McMurtry. There’s no reason I can’t do the same.

Now there’s a strange group of people to think about. John Grisham, Larry McMurtry and me. Sounds like a great title for a book for teenagers. Or a great title for a country song.

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