Monday, September 12, 2011


Last week my friend (hi Emily!) and I had a conversation about the word serious and how it applied to our writing.  On the one hand you have the definition (at least the one I feel applies to writing) of serious as:    
Being in earnest; sincere; not trifling

And on the other, there was me interpreting the word serious as: 
Having absolutely NO fun because you're too worried about being serious.

Here we have an intersection between connotation and denotation.  The denotation being the actual definition and the connotation being my freak out mode when the word "serious" is applied to me.  But my friend insisted, I was a serious writer (which from her is a TOTAL compliment). 

But I had to disagree with her.

I freaked out, cause I don't consider myself to be a serious writer (at least by my definition).

Emily was totally cool at handling my freak out and explained how I was totally and awesomely a serious writer.

 Tiny voice (yes it visits me so often  and it just won't shut-up) came back and in a bit of a snit.  Because I was still thinking of being "serious" in my connotation of the word.

For me being serious, in my mind, is like kissing a kid with chicken pocks and KNOWING the kid has chicken pocks.  Just replace chick pocks with writers block.  It's asking to be sick.  I do what I do because I have fun while I do it.  When I try to make myself be all "serious" as in a set schedules, make outlines, and forcing myself to experience the story, I find my attention wandering.  The story evokes a stale taste in my mouth and Tiny voice comes back, extremely angry, to say WHAT WHAT WHAT are you doing.

I can't put two words on a page that I like.  I can't even put two words on a page that I don't like. So I go back and write like a I do.  You know on the fly, spur of the moment, with three chapters in my head and nothing beyond that point.  I grab some music and my tiny laptop and stand at my kitchen count (cause I can't dance at a desk) and write.

Now I would love to someday be paid for what I write or what I think up, but the main reason I do the creative things I do is not for the hopeful payday, but because  I enjoy what I do.  I like to put words down on a page that make sense when read from left to right (I know, I'm not cool enough to be experimental....yet).  These things I do, in my mind, without seriousness. 

Which is a lie, of sorts.  I don't want you all to think I'm not professional when I write or interact with other writers.  Or that I'm just a frivolous girl out to be a "writer" without any real drive.  I have drive.  I have desire to be better.

That makes me serious, I suppose, in the denotation sense.  I have crit partners, I read, I'm slowly figuring out this whole publishing process.  By the dictionary, I'm SOOOO serious.  

But in my mind, I'm not so at ALL.  If I think of myself like that, I freeze.

Slowly, I am coming around to see myself as a serious writer, but I'm still looking for a better word.  Any suggestions?  Are there words that stop you in your tracks?  How do you deal with them?


  1. Ref: Are there words that stop you in your tracks?

    Yup. "Somebody just ate the last donut." :P

  2. This post reminded me of this video (from the Vlogbrothers, if you've ever heard of them), so I thought I might share:

    As for being a serious about just being a writer? :-)