Talking About Writing About Writing, and JacobPosted: March 12, 2008
Most writers hate to write. It’s fantastic to have written something, but the actual writing itself is really hard. I try to avoid doing it as much as possible. However, I love talking about writing. I especially like talking about other people’s writing, because I’m twice removed from any actual writing. First, I didn’t write it, and second, I’m talking about it.
Writing about writing is almost as good as talking about writing, with the exception that you actually have to write. But at least you don’t have to do the really hard stuff, like come up with ideas from nothing. There’s nothing worse than staring at that blank page. It’s so much easier to stare at someone else’s filled up page and write about that. They’ve already done the heavy lifting. I merely have to jabber on about it. Which I can do, no problem.
For instance, I recently jabbered on when I was hired to critique a screenplay. I told the writer I thought he had written a really great screenplay, and that he needed to change everything in it. I always try to be helpful like this when critiquing, although I am very aware of how hard it is to be on the receiving end of a critique. I lost a friend once as a result of giving a “helpful” critique, so I take nothing for granted anymore. My “helpful” was apparently her “get the hell out of my face with your critique.” It’s a fine line.
Much more enjoyable is reading other people’s critiques. Currently, I’m much enamored of a writer named Jacob who writes about the TV show AMERICAN IDOL at the fantastic blog TELEVISION WITHOUT PITY. Jacob critiques the show, the judges, the contestants, Ryan Seacrest, the audience, and me, even though he doesn’t even know who I am. He has a writing style that is very bold, and he often goes on these incredible tangential descriptions that I don’t quite understand in a logical way, but I do understand in an emotional way. He has a definite point of view. He forms opinions, and he’s not afraid to tell you what they are. I don’t always agree with him, but I know that he believes what he is writing, and his writing is beautiful. He tells little stories about every little thing, and then he connects all the little stories into one big story about the show, except it’s about so much more than the show. The big story is about life, and me. Somehow he writes about me! About what I might be thinking and feeling, and why it’s okay or not okay, according to Jacob, and I don’t mind that he’s telling me it’s not okay, because he believes what he’s writing and I believe what he’s writing. Even if I disagree.
I hope one day I can write like Jacob, with truth and conviction and a point of view. But for now, I will just write about writing about writing. Which is my truth at this moment. I know that Jacob would understand, and even if he doesn’t, he would understand that I understand. And even if he doesn’t, it would be okay, because I understand. And Jacob would understand that that’s a start.