Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the LA Times Festival of Books, and let’s just say, I found my muse. I haven’t felt inspiration to write like I did after that in quite some time.
I went to the festival for the sole purpose of going to see my new favorite author, Don Winslow, speak at a two of the “Conversations” that are held throughout. I just started reading his books in March at the behest of my father but I’ve already plowed through three of them. I can’t get enough.
Winslow was asked a question at one of the panels regarding the first sentence of his book Savages, which is “Fuck you.” That’s it. That’s the whole sentence. The whole first chapter really. He was asked about it and he said that one day he woke up angry, because sometimes you just wake up in a bad mood, and he wrote that down. “Fuck you.” But then he kept going. He thought about, well, who was saying that? Who said that and to whom did they say it? And then suddenly he was in the head of a 20 something year old Orange County girl.
Meeting Don Winslow! I died a little.
Sometimes you really do need to just write something like “fuck you” on a page because writing is frustrating. It’s incredibly hard and most of the time feels fruitless. But the fact that he wrote that down, not expecting anything of it, just writing the words down, but then pushed deeper into it is incredible.
We’re always told “just write down anything even if it’s “I don’t know what to write here” because writing that is better than writing nothing” but I always find that really hard to do. But then Don Winslow did that and wrote one of my favorite books ever.
Sunday I also had the pleasure of seeing Jason Segel speak at the festival. I haven’t read his book yet (though I did get a copy signed by him!), but I found what he said very inspirational. I’ve heard it before but it has been awhile, but he impressed the importance of not waiting for permission upon the audience. A lot of people, myself included, sometimes feel like the shouldn’t start writing, creating art, making movies, whatever, because no one has told them that they should, they haven’t been given permission to do it yet, so we feel like we shouldn’t, that we aren’t good enough to do it, whatever it is.
Jason Segel book signing! He was amazingly nice.
But really, WHY do we feel like we need to wait for permission? I’ve written things before, though not to completion (and don’t I just love having two unfinished novels looming over my head). And why don’t I ever finish them? I have a feeling that Jason was very right here. Perhaps I’m waiting for someone to tell me to finish them.
I’ve never really seriously considered becoming an author before. It seemed impossible to me for awhile. I started writing in November 2012 and I was doing it for myself. I started NaNoWriMo on a whim, shortly after breaking up with my ex, because I decided it was time to stop wallowing and to start doing things for myself, doing things just because I enjoyed them and wanted to dedicate more time to me. And that was a great way to look at my writing. For the time. But now I feel like that has passed and that I should consider taking it all more seriously. I’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks how I think I really actually do want to try and write something and get it published.
For the past couple of blog posts here I’ve been essentially whining about how writing is hard and I don’t have time and it’s discouraging and blah blah blah. I sit there and write out those feelings here on this blog because it helps me process exactly what it is that I’m feeling but then I never actually do anything about it. I get the emotions out, get the words out, and then I sit back, look over it, press publish and push on. I don’t even think about it again until I let the frustration get to me and then I’m back here on this blog, writing it all out again, and then the cycle just continues.
Instead I need to actually write. Focus. Push through the frustration. Make time. Seriously. Make time to write. You love it. You love it even when you hate it. So really, maybe just write “Fuck you” and then continue the story on from there.