In a plane, one of my favorite places to be, I filled in the form on the tray table.
If I designed customs forms, I would make them with a crease in the middle so that they could easily fit into a pocket. As is it's a bit of a predicament. I don't want to just hold on to the thing while I get my bag out of the overhead compartment. I might lose it or crumple it.
I don't want to fold it either. That might be a sign that I'm a drug dealer, or at least someone with some contempt for authority. Those bored people in the little glass booths have a lot of power. Deny my extra-long-and-thin piece of paper, and I'm in trouble.
First Name. Tynan. Sex. Male. Flight. Let me check my similarly poorly shaped ticket.
That's a new one.
First it was student, then professional gambler, then pick up artist, and now it's writer.
I wrote it automatically without consideration, and until that moment I hadn't ever considered that I had actually become a writer.
And I do a lot of it. On a good week that's an article for Gadling, a Make Her Chase You newsletter, Two articles for this site, another two for Life Nomadic, and seven little ones for Daily15.
Soon I'll be making the bulk of my income from Conversion Doubler, at which point I'll officially be a programmer, marketer, or maybe even an entrepreneur.
But until then, I'm a writer. I get a kick out of that. I realize, of course, that the gamut of writers range from blog/ebook authors all the way up to the literary greats like the writers for Arrested Development, and that I'm at the bottom rung.
What's funny is that I don't actually like writing very much. I consider it a necessary and not particularly offensive obstacle in the way of me doing things that I really like doing: telling stories, sharing my opinions, and massaging rows of small plastic squares.
For example, when I write ebooks (I've actually made several little ones you probably don't know about), I never design it until the end. I love designing ebooks, so that's my carrot at the end of the stick that gets me through the hundred or so pages of typing.
Once in a while I get the idea that I'll write a real novel. It's something to do, and I want to do everything, so I imagine that I will actually finish one someday (PS - congrats to my friend Tiffany for actually DOING it!).
I started one about an awkward high schooler (hmm... where did THAT inspiration come from), and then another about a kid whose father is killed, which leads him to discover that he was a government agent and then he has to go avenge him or something. I loved the idea of him finding out this huge thing so much that I never got past that point.
Now I'm thinking about some ideas for writing a "how to live an awesome life" book. That's what I need... another project...
I like the process of writing. I finished a novel. Yea, it's about a guy like me hooking up with a hot girl. I know, your dick's more imaginative. But it reads pretty well.
Best way to write a novel: Write. Everyday. Just read your last page and continue where you left off.
Also, I think writing non-fiction is completely different from writing fiction. So your blog-writing-skills might not immediately jump over to your novel-writing-skills.
And you're right: you probably should convey more emotion in your writing ;-)
But: I like your writing even as it is. So having interesting things to tell certainly is a good head start you have over most people.
Tynan, you have to write that 'how to live and awesome life' book. Write a overview and a sample chapter and pitch to an agent. Get a proper book deal.
@Matt: Writers bite, then write.
@Tynan: I'm really excited for your book on being awesome. This is an area that I think is not included on many pickup/personal development websites. (Myself, I'm on a Quest for Awesomeness.
Perhaps the new book will start as a series of blog posts? :D
I have the predicament of wanting to do everything before I die. Number 234,220 on that list is writing a novel, so we're going to get that one knocked out this month.
Why November? Because it's NaNoWriMo, the unfortunately acronymed National Novel Writing Month. You can go sign up at the web site and pledge to write a 50k word novel in one month. Usually 1 out of 6 people actually finish it. I'll be one of those people. Will you?
I have a pretty cool idea for a story, and I think I'm already a pretty good storyteller. What's really exciting, though, is that writing 50k words apparently makes everyone who completes it a much better writer. Remember the practicing thing from yesterday? Let's practice being good writers. Get ready for some kick ass stories up in this piece.
Question from a reader -
You have maintained your commitment to being prolific which is made even more exceptional by the fact you are travelling around the world at the same time.
I realise your article on being prolific is about this, but accepting that I'm going to release a lot of crap before I realise something good is a tough wall to knock down. My biggest issue writing anything seems to be that it feel insufficent. Naturally no post I write has the length of Steve Yegge, the persuasiveness of Paul Graham, the content of Unqualified Reservations etc. etc. and while I can consciously accept this, there seems to be some mental block. How do you go "that's sufficient" and release it into the wild?
There's two basic approaches to being successful as a writer. The first, we could call the "Paul Graham / Derek Sivers" approach. This is where you explore a lot of ideas privately, go forward with the best ideas you have, and edit and polish the hell out of everything before you release it into the world. If you do this, and you've got talent as a writer, and you've got important ideas - then you're going to consistently only release masterpieces.
The second way is to just write a hell of a lot and know that a number of the things you write will turn out quite well, but your average quality level will be much lower. We could call this the "write every day no matter what" approach.