ProAm Tip #29 - WHY I BLOG
It was recently brought to my attention that, as a blogger, I’m pretty much a failure. At least, I’m a failure in that I didn’t make it clear, maybe, about who I am, what I’m doing, or even why. Also, I failed to explain what a ‘ProAm’ is, or why you all should even care. And that as a blogger, I kinda sorta sound a little… to put it delicately… like a gigantic egotist.
All of which is a little hurtful. And all of which is NOT wrong. Not even a little.
So. I’ve been doing this in a kind of absent-minded way for a long time, and I forgot that I’m not really writing these for myself. I’m writing about writing to connect with writers, readers, and like-minded people in an effort to promote good writing, enjoyment of reading, and maybe even sell a few books.
Yeah, I’ve got the self-interest angle. That doesn’t mean I’m not full of good stuff to say.
Trust me: I’m full of it.
The short version: my name is Aaron S Gallagher. I’m a writer. Most people who write say that. Except in my case, it’s kind of the only thing I’m any good at. I’m certainly not a people person, and I’m not a mathematically inclined person, nor am I particularly logical, or even relatable. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out I register on the autism scale, to be honest, I have ADD and ADHD. Not to mention I like to make up people and places and things and they fill my head, so I’m usually talking to be heard over the noise of all the worlds crowded into my own head, which I’m sure some of you can relate to.
Ahem. I did say short version.
So, let’s make that point one: I talk. A lot. Like, a LOT.
Point two: this series is called ProAm Tips. ProAm stands for ‘professional amateur.’ That’s what I am. I’m by no means new at writing. I’m not a professional (The delineation is, I suspect, that professionals get paid to do what they do. I don’t.) writer. I’m a dedicated amateur. I’m not a master of language and style and prose. I’ll never claim to be. What I am is a writer who’s been writing for close to forty years. I’ve learned a few things in all that time. I think it’s good to share them here, because when I started out, no one was, and I had to learn by screwing everything up a couple times (sometimes more than a couple) before I started to get it right.
Point three: I don’t always get it right. But I can help people who are even newer than I am along a little. I know things. I know about writing. I promise.
My CV (Curriculum Vitae) reads thusly:
Written fiction books: sixteen
Published fiction books: twelve (Every writer has a couple of trunk novels that didn’t quite make it)
Written short stories : 57.
Published short stories: eleven.
Written & published poetry books: six.
Total words written: over a million in individual stories, songs, poems, vignettes, and a couple of plays.
Now the big question: what’s my street cred?
Professionally published novels: none
Professionally published short stories: Three. One in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, One in Ares Magazine, and one produced audio production on EscapePod.
More to the point: stories I’ve been paid professional rates for: three.
I’m a struggling writer like you. The main difference between myself and many struggling new writers is this: I’ve got material. I’ve finished books. I’ve finished stories. I’ve written tons of poetry, songs, vignettes, and plays. Whether or not it’s good is for YOU to decide, not me. But my work is out there. I’m not shy about it. Go read it. Go look at what I can do. I can’t tell you I’m the person you need to listen to. You’ve got to decide for yourself. If you like what I do, that’s cool. If you think that, by blathering away, I can help you, that’s also cool. And a privilege.
Point four: I’m NOT an egotist. I’m an egoist. There’s a subtle but unmistakable difference.
So, what’s my Rambles about?
It’s my way of trying to answer questions that beginning writers might have. It’s my way of trying to help give writers an idea about HOW to do the things that everyone just assumes anyone who ‘writes’ already knows. It’s my way of helping.
My wife is a nurse. In nursing school, they have this rule: learn one, do one, teach one. In essence, you learn a new procedure. Then you DO a new procedure, to get hands-on experience. And then you TEACH that new procedure to another student, because teaching a skill to someone makes you really understand that skill all the more. I love that philosophy. It’s one of the reasons I want to teach creative writing. I learned to do it, I do it, I want to teach it.
Until I get my degree, you guys are my class. But you’re also my peers. I’ve maintained long and longer that anyone who writes is a writer. And anyone who writes is my friend, ally, and compatriot.
We’re all in this together.
Thus, my mission statement is to help you understand things you DON’T understand. To explain (in terms I understand because I do them) what I know to you. To share what I’ve learned.
So maybe, just maybe, you don’t have to learn the hard way, and can get right to what we all really love about writing anyhow: The writing.
That’s me, my blog, and my purpose. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I exist.Someone once asked me why I write. I asked her right back: why do you breathe?I do it because I can’t NOT write. And I know things. I promise. And I wanna share, so YOU’LL know things too.
If I ever sound pompous (heaven forbid!) or egotistical (How can I not? I’m awesomesauce) or like a condescending prick (… I got nothing. It happens) believe me, it’s only because I AM.
Er… I mean it’s only because I’m so excited to share what I know and help you grow with me as a writer. But, you know… also yes.
One thing I’d like to rectify right now, though: I have been doing these blogs for myself, thinking about writing brings up the topics I write about. But… maybe that’s the wrong way to go about it. So… let’s do this differently:
What do YOU struggle with? What do YOU want to know? What do YOU think I could help with? Throw me a comment, and I’ll respond.
I’ll try not to sound like an arrogant jerk. I mean… I probably WILL, but I’ll try not to. Really.