Most of the things I regret in life have been out of my control. But with this statement, don’t get me wrong, I am still prone to doing dumb shit. This is mainly with the little stuff though; hence when I refer to regrets I’m typically talking about the bigger stuff. Like that time I thought it was a good idea to get a tattoo that read “don’t rush important decisions in life like tattoos.” No joke, I almost did this. Or, my recent stroke of genius, I’ve been thinking of getting a tatt that says “halfway decent tattoo” – haha, I am just kidding this time.
Still, regrets hey!? Well, one that’s been on my mind for ages has been the title of my first book, Bursting Bubbles. At the time when I was publishing it, and right when I had to give the publisher my final title, I was in hospital struggling with this crazy leaky trachy. I honestly thought I was going to die. So, along with the title, I rushed many things about the book. I was under some pretty intense pressure to get it finished. Overall, I am happy with the result, I really did give it everything I could under the circumstances.
But with the title, I wish I’d called it The Writing Virus. At the time, if I had the chance to really think about it (and wasn’t in a state where I was over-run by anxiety and stress), I do think I would’ve come up with something very, very similar to this. Something more focused on and representative of blogging through COVID. Which, sure the title Bursting Bubbles does do this (by referring to the lockdown bubble), but sheez it is super dorky. Haha. Sounds like a bubble bath. Or, maybe my regret (and frustration) comes from the fact that I did have to rush it and that’s what bugs me.
I mean, as I’ve now come to realise, the title of a book is pretty bloody important as you’re sorta stuck with it. Don’t do what comedian Jeanette McCrudy did, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.” Now, that is just freaking dumb.
Alright, well that whole opening sequence dragged on a bit longer than I would’ve liked. Whoops. What I’ve really been hoping to get at today, for over a year now I’ve had this idea of starting a writing group (called The Writing Virus), and the premise of it centres around the same writing challenge that I followed within the book Bursting Bubbles. So, to write 500 words, five days a week – and what this group would do is provide a platform for people to share their 500 word journals (or whatever they’re working on). As part of all this, I’d planned on providing writing prompts too, for example, “what is your dream tattoo and why is it dumber than mine?”
A while back I even bought the domain, www.writingvirus.com, but no joshin this is as far as I got with it. I’ve always had other stuff going on and this is something that I’ve always put on the backburner. Even now, I’m not sure how committed I’m feeling toward this project, like I’m still looking at it very much like a step toward overwhelm. Smack… yeah, you can’t do everything. You’ve gotta pick your projects – and I felt way more passionate about the advice column (which, mental note, I do need to catch up on a couple of questions).
Anyhow, Superman, Thor, Batman, Spongebob Squarepants… bammo! It’s a writing group extravaganza!! You see, a friend of mine (and funnily enough the same “oot and aboot” chick who helped to edit my book Bursting Bubbles) is starting her own writing group. It’s a group directed at accountability though. And I know I’ve been talking about the feelings of confusion that I often experience when you’d think I’d be excited (with the direct example here obviously being moving house), well, can I just say without hesitation that I’m genuinely excited about this group. And it’s so cool that Danielle’s been able to organise this thing that I haven’t quite been able to pull off. Handy. Also, I’ve never connected with a group of writer’s before, well outside of a classroom, so I’m pumped.
And what I love about this already (as this is what I’ve tried to touch upon in this rant), the timing aspects are for once perfect. I’m not rushing or pressured, I’m not caught up in ambition or assessment, so finally I feel like I’m going to be able to freely enjoy something – and hopefully meet some cool people. More happy days.
Then finally, Danielle has asked us to answer these two questions before our first meet-up, so for shits and giggles, yeah I thought I might answer them here first. Bang, bang, kiss, kiss.
1. What are your writing goals at this point?
Output, hm, yeah mostly output. You see, I’ve got several books that have solid concepts (or I know exactly what I want to do and what I want the end products to be), so in many ways it’s just doing the work. To run the miles and put in the hard yards. Then, as far as another goal, I’m a shocker – I always tell and not show. So, I’d love to work on this too.
2. What are you hoping to get out of this group?
Okay, so I know exactly what my writing practice is. I write very regularly and riff in these frantic two hour long bursts… but I’d love to know how other people do it. And by learning how other people write (their methods and even where they find inspiration), hopefully it can help me improve. To be more efficient. Then, another thing I’d like to get from this group, well funnily enough I’d like to be able to give in the form of some mentorship. To me and with my writing, I know this is a step I’d love to take. My next step forward.
Output is a great goal to focus on. Put out enough words and we’re bound to find some that work well with whatever projects we choose to pursue. Anyway, thanks for sharing, Mark!