Why the F**k Do I Write?

why do I write?
Why do I write? This is me writing my way to the answer.
Photo by The Creative Exchange

It’s an honest question.

One I aim to answer by writing my way to it.

Here goes:

When And How Did I Start Writing?

I got started writing when I was really little. My maternal grandmother used to have me over for the weekend from time to time. She didn’t have cable and I was born in ’83, so there wasn’t smartphones, tablets, laptops, or even internet. (Or whatever internet there was, it wasn’t available to the masses.)

So in a tiny Michigan farming community, with no other kids to play with, nothing electronic to steal my attention for a few hours, my grandmother got out an old Royal typewriter. (I have a Royal now, but it’s not hers; I found it at an estate sale a few years ago. Looks and feels exactly how I remember hers though.) When she had a chore to do, an errand to run, or just needed some quiet–out came the typewriter. I don’t remember any of the childish stories I wrote on it, but I remember the feeling of birthing something into the world. Where once there was a blank page, there’s now life. It was the first time I felt powerful. Again, I was probably 7 or 8.

When Did I Know I Wanted to Write a Novel?

Maybe 4th or 5th grade I was in the car with my mom. I can’t remember what led into it, but I told her I was going to write a novel someday. She was more or less like, Mmm, ok…

Did I Write All the Time?

Yes and no. Yes in that I wrote stuff in a notebook or spare pieces of paper all the time. All the time.

No in that there was no process–first draft, second draft, editing, revising, rewriting, feedback, etc…–at that time. I didn’t really understand how real writers did it. Their stuff was so smooth. It just grabbed you by the face. My stuff didn’t do that. So I threw away 98% of everything I wrote because I thought it sucked, and therefore I sucked as a writer.

(This is something people do to themselves all to often, I’ve found, which is why I started a podcast to encourage the “average person” to get in touch with their creative side. Check out Creative Ops if that sounds like your jam!)

When Did I Realize I Had “Talent”?

High school. Sophomore history. We were learning about the Holocaust. We were given the option to write a historical fiction for the final project. I knew that would be the least painful option for me, a kid with a bad attitude and barely a 2.0GPA.

So I wrote a story about a young Jewish boy who makes it almost all the way to the liberation, but dies just before being freed. The whole class was practically in tears. Granted the subject was the Holocaust…

When Did I Realize Writing Took Me Away?

I hate flying.

Taking off, turbulence, landing. I very much dislike all parts of the process. One time I was on a plane and happened to have my journal in my carryon. I was extremely anxious and started feeling physically uncomfortable–my neck was tight and my stomach was upset. I started writing in my journal about the flight, how uncomfortable I was, and so on. Within minutes I was experiencing ataraxy and aponia. Ataraxy is defined as “a state of serene calmness”. Aponia is defined as “the absence of physical pain”. That’s when I realized that writing has a meditative power that’s practically medicinal.

This article from Medium talks about Epicurus, a famous stoic dude from way back in the dizzay, who talked in depth about this stuff.

And ever since then, if I get to weird and anxious, my wife tells me, “Go write or go for a run. Or both.”

How Did I Get over My Insecurities?

Man…I didn’t. Haha. Every time I publish one of these blogs my heart skips a beat. What if this is garbage and everyone who reads it thinks it’s terrible? I have those thoughts. But I remind myself that true creatives are welcoming, encouraging people. If/when you come across someone who feels the need to tell you “you suck” or “this isn’t any good” are probably sad and hurt because they have something inside themselves they can’t or won’t express and it kills them inside.

It’s definitely one of those easier-said-than-done type of things. I don’t know if this’ll work for you, but these stoic quotes help me when I’m in my head:

  • “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” –Epictetus
  • “You have power over your mind-not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” –Marcus Aurelius
  • “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” –Seneca

There’s kind of a theme there, eh? It’s kind of like saying, Don’t read the comments on your favorite YouTube videos, just enjoy the content you enjoy. Same-same when it comes to however you express your creativity. Enjoy it because you enjoy it, not because you want someone to tell you how talented you are. No external factors will ultimately contribute to your happiness.

My Advice to You?

Write. Or paint, or fix up old cars, or repair and reupholster furniture. Whatever your creative thing is, do it. Do it for yourself, even if you share it with the world. Then you’ll never be disappointed. I mean…rarely. Life still kicks you in the nuts, or what-have-you, sometimes. But a little artistic expression will help with the pain.

-CT

Christopher Tallon -  writer and host of the podcast Creative Ops

Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High fiveFollow me:

Website | Instagram | FaceBook | Twitter | Podcast

Creative Ops | Ep.32 | Creativity 101 w/ Professor Tallon

Hey folks. Got a new podcast episode out. It’s a solo episode where I talk about creativity: what it is, why it’s important, and how to generate it. Link and show notes below. Thanks everyone!

-CT

The one and only...Christopher Tallon

Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High fiveFollow me:

Website | Instagram | FaceBook | Twitter | Podcast

DOWNLOAD and SHARE Episode 32 of Creative Ops

I want YOU to be creative. This episode breaks down creativity. Listen, be informed and inspired, and go out and make cool shit! The world deserves your gifts.

. . .

Then holla at me on Instagram and tell me all about it! Please check out the website and blog, and you can say hi on FB and Twitter, too!

. . .

And PLEEEEASE…if you haven’t yet, rate and review the show on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get the show. It really really really helps out. Or give me money. Yeah, that’s what I thought…

Behind “The Process”: Don’t Get Too Far ahead of Yourself!

Welcome to another lovely installment of Behind “The Process”, a blog that…

What? What makes it lovely?

Not people asking questions while I’m mid-sentence. Dang, yo. Anyway–a blog that takes a look at the writing process to simplify, demystify, and encourage-ify(?) people to sit down and write! Enjoy! Or don’t. Whatever.

Photos by Michael Burrows on Pexels.com

I’m in a position that’s a little too familiar. I’m beginning to accept that, perhaps, that’s just how I do it. I’m talking about my little way of writing by hand, THEN typing onto a computer.

Why Do I Write by Hand First?

Simply put, it’s the only way I can do it. I explain more about why I like writing by hand here. But if you’re not in a linkety-clickety mood:

When I write on the computer, I don’t see the action in my head. It’s more like I can only hear it. I don’t know if that makes any kind of sense, but I’m sticking with it, dammit.

And it’s also good for your brain.

What Do I Mean about Getting ahead of Yourself?

OK, so I write by hand most of the time. Sometimes not when I’m putting together a short blog. I know, some people think, I have to write 800+ words?!?, and start freaking out. The book I wrote (which is currently under review with a publisher (fingers crossed, people!)) is roughly 85-THOUSAND words, so…800 doesn’t seem like much. Just sayin–short stuff doesn’t require the same kind of imaginative concentration as writing a novel.

(Maybe yours doesn’t, oooooh!)

Bruh… Who let that guy in here?

Anyway, what I mean by not getting too far ahead of yourself is, well, exactly that. If you subscribe to the idea of first writing by hand on the first draft (like my boy Ernest Hemingway (granted he didn’t have laptops back then…)), then you know you’ll eventually have to take what you’ve handwritten and type it all out, so here’s the trick:

Don’t get more than 5-10 pages–depending on your typing skills–ahead on untyped, hand-written pages.

Why Don’t You Follow Your Own Advice?

I know, I know…

I’m a full legal pad behind. I have two or three pages that need typed on the last notebook, then I have a completely full notebook to type out. That won’t take an excessive amount of time, but (once again) I wish I had followed my 5-10 written pages ahead at a time rule. But I didn’t. I’m that special kind of a**hole who tells you what to do, but doesn’t do it himself.

Workin on it, folks. Workin on it.

Is There an Upside to Ignoring This Advice?

Hmm…

Kinda.

When you take on a large writing project, you keep notes about the characters and things like that handy early in the process. While you’re still getting to know the characters yourself. So the longer I get into that world and just write, the better I feel I know the story and its players. Also, the longer I let something sit after I’ve written it, the more I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time.

But I’d still enjoy the benefit of time by following my advice all the way through the first draft and coming back to it in the 2nd. Hmm…

Are You Still Trying to Convince Us Not to Get Too Far ahead?

Man, I don’t even know anymore. Honestly, do what works for you. I’m not trying to create a clone writing army. (Or am I?!?)

Oh boy…my head is starting to spin in that It’s-time-for-switchin-to-fiction kinda way!

That’s good. Sometimes you just need a warmup. Sorry if I’m making you feel like you’re just part of my warmup, but…the truth hurts.

Just messin around, you know I love you guys! OK, love is a strong word. Deep appreciate. Yeah, that works. I deeply appreciate you guys.

Let me know if any of this works for you. Or doesn’t work. Or if you wanna hear my BS on any other topics.

OK, I’m leaving now.

-CT

Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High fiveFollow me:

Website | Instagram | FaceBook | Twitter | Podcast

Creative Ops | Ep.31 | Liz Della Croce (The Lemon Bowl) talks food, business, blogging, old-school online dating, enneagrams and MORE!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-77zsa-1088b55

Liz Della Croce started a blog centered around healthy, delicious food. Several years later, that blog gets over a million hits a month. Liz turned that blog into a business, and started some other businesses, then partnered with some other businesses, and…you get it. She cooked on the TODAY Show, for crying out loud!

She came into The Attic Studio (normally home to A Talk in the Attic (Thanks for the space, Kirk!)) and we talked about old-school online dating, parenting, kids, enneagrams, CHEESE!, her awesome hubby, successful weight loss, music, switching careers….

It was a good one. Want more of Liz?

Read the article Liz mentions: Coping with Weight Gain after Weight Loss

Visit: The Lemon Bowl Website/Blog and its Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. You might also enjoy The Irie Lemon and the Passion to Profit Podcast.

. . .

Thanks. Check out Christopher Tallon at www.christophertallon.com, and on Insta, FB, and Tweety.

Creative Ops | Ep.30 | Trophy Husbands – A Casual Conversation between the Super Friends, Kirk Ross and Christopher Tallon

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-z4vtf-1083edb

Hey folks,

I’ve been in a little bit of a creative funk lately. As it turns out, so was my buddy–the other half of podcasting’s super friends, The Trophy Husbands–Kirk Ross. I asked him if he wanted to talk over some ideas, and we ended up just releasing our conversation as a podcast. We talk about the mission of CREATIVE OPS, get a few personal updates, talk shit, try to be funny…the usual.

So you’ll hear my cut here, and in the days to follow you can listen to Kirk’s cut on A Talk in the Attic AND watch the video on his YouTube channel.

I plan on having Kirk on for a planned interview sometime, but until then, catch up on his podcasts and videos, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Peace out homefries!