When writing is slow and the weight of the world gets me down, I watch Orange County.
There’s a part in this film that strikes me more than even the greatest of Oscar winners. Colin Hanks’s character, Shaun Brumder, has a meeting in the second half of the film with his literary idol, Marcus Skinner (played by Kevin Klein). During the discourse, Shaun says, “I want to be a good writer, Mr. Skinner, but I’m just afraid that if I don’t get out of Orange County, it’s never going to happen.” Skinner says the most uplifting of responses: “You don’t have to be afraid of that, Shaun. You are a good writer.”
My alien invasion novel fell through again, and the result has been another in a string of depressing nights. But watching that scene always stirs a bit of hope in me.
Every writer wants validation. We want to know that there are people out there who connect with our work. Accuse me of spinning cliches, but it’s more valuable than gold. Like Shaun Brumder, I’m scared that I have no future as a writer, and the fear makes me question my devotion to the craft entirely. But now – literally, just a second ago – I thought back on the writer’s fair this last weekend, about the Confident Writing seminar.
Writers write because they enjoy telling stories.
You want to call me a cliche? Go ahead. You want to say I’m some Hallmark card? That’s your prerogative. But I know I have an advantage in that such words are true. The only reason I torture myself the way I do over my work is because I want to ensure that it’s the best that I can possibly give.
So, to all those who stumble upon this – from the U.S. of A. to Russia to that lovely, arid landmass called Australia – don’t give in to your fear of being a writer. I sincerely believe that everyone has what it takes to make it.
And if you’re one of the nay-sayers who cries “bullshit”, go fuck yourself. What have you created lately?