Before I sat down to write this, I had to clear off my desk of papers and garbage and all of the other things that accompany three weeks of entropy. This was an unfortunate reminder of the fact that my process, one that I had spent so long working to develop, had slipped away from me at some point. Maybe it was because of heartbreak. Maybe falling in love. Maybe watching life and death coexist. Or maybe I was just lazy. But it occurred to me that for the past 3 weeks, my writing simply hadn’t been happening. I suppose that’s how it goes.
Writing can feel like it happens in a vacuum. Like something that exists solely between us and our journals and computer screens. Like when we fail, we fail alone, and when we succeed, it’s only our published piece that others get to see. We share drafts. We share manuscripts. But when it comes to the work itself, we don’t share. Sometimes we’ll mention our processes or our word counts, but not often enough do we talk about our procrastination, our fears and doubts, or our bigger communities. There are so many factors that go into our written works that go ignored because they might not be as interesting as the prose that they influence.
Well, f**k that.
I am horrified of being alone. That extends to all aspects of my life, writing included. And so I thought that it would be helpful to me to get other writers to talk about the things that they think about while writing. Writers writing about writing. Since I am sure I am not the only one who agonizes over audience and voice, over how to get my ass in the chair, I figured other people might benefit from it as well. And so here we go. Chicago Literati’s non-fiction, writers writing about writing issue. Seven essays about what it means to write. And without a good deal of the bullshit that you find in writing books (that’s right, Stephen King, you can go f**k yourself).
So open up. Let go of your need to be a stellar writer and settle for being just someone who writes. We all suck sometimes, we all fuck up. It’s how we respond to those fuck ups that set us apart. I’d encourage you to find all of the people you are about to read on twitter or through their websites and talk to them. Find each other and talk. Let’s stop being so isolated and come together as the community we ought to be.
And then let’s f**king write.