I’ve been invited to read at a short story-esque thing in about three weeks and I’m a little terrified. I’ve never done it before – get up in front of a room full of people and read something I wrote.
Worst of all, at the moment, I don’t have anything of mine to read. Sure, I’ve been writing here on this blog for a couple of months straight and I’ve sketched out some rough ideas here, but I haven’t written anything close to what I would consider a finished piece in a long, long, long time. I look at this little blog as a place to practice the craft of writing and not much more. There have been a few successes and a few ideas that I feel as though are worth polishing up, but of course, I want something new. Something good. Something that leaps off the page and has a pace that holds people’s attention while I try not to look too hard at my shoes and vomit.
Blogging is easy – I wake up, find something in the last twenty-four hours worth writing about, and go. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but the goal is to put words to the page, get a little exercise in getting the words to come and
Writing a piece is different. The same general ideas apply but you gotta have a beginning, middle and end. You have to have a reason for the reader to want to continue and there has to be enough of a resolution to make them feel as though it was worth their time. Unlike a blog, or a journal entry, or a poem, a piece has to tell a story. You have to go back over it a dozen times and read it out loud and kill, kill, kill your darlings that get in the way of clear and concise language.
Truthfully, I haven’t written a story in a decade and most of the ones I wrote back then are embarrassingly awful. There were a few where I thought I might have actually had something interesting and worth refining a little more but mostly, I’ve written for the sake of writing and myself.
But I feel up to the challenge. I have what I think is a darkly funny and tragic little portrait of a scene and I just have to sit down and write it. The idea of getting up in front of people isn’t scary at the moment, because I don’t even have a piece to read, so for now the anxiety sits on actually sitting down and writing the damn thing.
Oh, I’ll have a nice case of nerves once I’ve got the piece staring in front of me, don’t get me wrong. For as big a mouth as I sometimes have, getting up in front of people to do anything is terrifying but reading a piece of fiction I’ve written? Yeesh.
But for now it’s all good. I’ve got an outline in my head and I’ve got a couple of weeks of free time and it’s about god damn time I actually tried to write a story after all these posts.
All I gotta do is tell the truth and it’ll all work out fine.
I have faith.