Number 300. When I started this blog over three years ago it was supposed to be for writers. (It’s part of my author web page http://www.johnbeckmanbooks.com .) The idea was, I would write something about writing and a writer would comment on it, and we would swap ideas. That never happened. So it turned into just a place for me to express my thoughts on happenings of the day. And who cares what I think? I’m no wizard. I’m just a person with no inside knowledge on anything. I guess I was stupid to think that a writer’s blog was a good idea. I’ve had bad ideas before. But, as I’ve thought about it, I do know why it didn’t work.
There is a good reason. There are over a million and a half books on Amazon and most of them are trash. The people who write these pieces of tripe are not writers, they are “typists.” And they would have nothing of value to add to a writer’s blog. So these typists spend their time on Amazon’s forum whining because nobody is buying what they have typed. And no writers are responding to this blog because real writers are busy writing and not talking about writing. Lawrence Block, a prolific author and a great talent, has written a number of books on the process of writing. I’ve read every one. And the conclusion of them all is that Block doesn’t know what the “secret” to becoming a writer is, and that all writers have a different method of reaching the same end result – writing something that is good enough so that people will pay to read it.
I remember a writing class many years ago by a professor whose name I have forgotten. He was quite old at the time so I’m sure he is dead now. But I recall his analogy of writing as a “contact sport.” He compared it to football. The act of writing can be exhausting, that’s true. Reaching the goal line (winning and becoming rich and famous) may never be reached, and the writer is constantly hurt – by critics who wouldn’t know good writing if they were force-fed it.
But, although writing is lonely and often unrewarding in a monetary manner, there is the satisfaction of being a “story teller.” And that in itself is a great reward. In the hum drum course of an ordinary day, the writer can bring to the reader of his works, the magic and distant wonders of lands never visited and adventures never experienced. And there is the reward of never having to be “consistent.” If I am feeling sad, I can write of the hurt of a woman who treated me badly. If I am happy, I can write of the joy of a woman whom I loved whole heartedly and I can celebrate her memory. Being inconsistent is a luxury that few who spend their days in a cubical can enjoy.
It takes a year to write a good 350 page novel, and in it I can be the whole man. I can unleash my imagination and let it roam deep into the recesses of my mind. I can let it explore dark and sinister caverns, mysterious places which I am not normally even aware of. And although it may take a long time for readers to wade through the million and a half pieces of trash on Amazon, some day they will find it. And it will be there for people to read forever. That is a kind of immortality that few can even dream of. And that is why I am a writer. So I am closing down this blog as it has become and will only use it in connection to Facebook to let anyone who is interested know what I am currently working on. I’m going back to writing. It’s what I do.