People.

Writers & Community

Expectations

I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just start typing.

I never really knew or know now how many people actually read my blog. Sure, I have analytics on site usage, but those are just numbers, not people—really—just dots and graphs and a map. What I want to focus on in this post is people. But I also want to go into this whole writing thing.

During my MFA, I had a consistent and reliable community of writers. Why? We spent thousands each semester. We received grades. We looked forward to attaining another degree. And we had deadlines.

Why did I write so much during that time? Money—lots of it. Hard expectations. Hard deadlines. Hard outcomes: grades and a degree.

Do I have those expectations now? No. There’s no clear end to this whole thing. And when I say end, I mean publication. Now, I know that’s not really the end. It’s just another door that’s to be opened, with another door after that, but I want that first door opened. But, man, it’s hard and right now it feels like it is endless. From what I can tell, I’ve come very close to getting an agent a few times, and those letters are probably harder to read than the flat-out rejections. Now, emotionally, rejections have become junk mail: open just to make sure, then toss.

Resistance

As those of you who’ve read my previous blog posts may know, during the first year of the pandemic, I stayed home with my children and taught them alongside the public school district’s virtual academy. It was a full-time job. I wrote little, but I wrote. Now, my children have returned to school, and I have another job. Two jobs, in fact. It was three jobs at one point, but no more. I’m back at what I did before the pandemic: teaching high school English both in person and online, full time and part time respectively.

It’s strange. Teaching, somehow, inspires me to write. To post here, again. Why? Perhaps it’s the intellectual stimulation. Perhaps it’s the process of analyzing literature. Perhaps it’s teaching the history in which each of the authors lived. Perhaps it’s those inspiring phrases taken from literature written up to a millennium and a half ago. Perhaps it’s the students. It’s probably all that, but this post doesn’t end there.

I’ve taken getting published too seriously. That seriousness has weighted me down. And, does it matter? I don’t know. Do I want to be published? Of course I do. However, that expectation, that weight, hampered me. Or rather, I let it hamper me: see resistance.

So, I’ll write my second novel. Then I’ll write my third. Then move on to the next. And I’ll blog.

People.

Which brings me back to people. I received a message from a person who reads my blog. And I must apologize to that writer: I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, but I’m glad you messaged me. Your letter made me realize there’s more to my blog, more to my writing, than what I had expected. So, thank you. You’ve given me another reason to continue writing.

You see, while there were expectations, money, grades, and a degree involved with my productivity during my MFA, ultimately, it was the people involved whom I did not want to disappoint, did not want to neglect, wanted to help and be helped by. If you need that help, I’m here, and you may always contact me either by commenting below or messaging me because a writer needs a community.

It’s hard to write alone.

A writer needs people.

Author: Chuck Lang

Chuck Lang is a writer of science fiction and horror. Influenced by his years as a carpenter, four years serving in the US Navy, and his fifteen years teaching literature, he holds an MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Lindenwood University. After completing his first manuscript, the supernatural horror novel DEAD GODS, in 2019, he has begun work on its two sequels, DEAD GODS: INHERITANCE and DEAD GODS: RESOLUTION. He is currently developing two additional projects, an urban fantasy horror novel and a military science fiction novel. He lives and writes near the frequently flooded Red River in Fargo, ND with his wife and two redhead sons.

2 thoughts

  1. …don’t wanna get maudlin here, after all, I’m a hard guy, reared within the brick and mortor of inner city angst. I ain’t no crip, ain’t no blood. I don’t flash signs or gang bang that was my other brothers claim to infamy, but I have tasted cold salad on metal-trays on the other side of the bars. And wrote. And wrote. And wrote Over the years. And I had the swagger then to think “I’m good.” Damn good. But I stopped. Dunno why. But I stopped. Until moments ago considering the scale of one mans life being four score years — or however that goes. But I recently picked up the pen, suited for battle anew after stopping off here on a tireless search of saving cats on hero journeys lured by that storied fleece of motivation: inspiration, that thing that zings you in the arse like a bee sting, makes you pop up and get to getting — get to writing. Found it here. (sob) …In closing just wanna say how invigorating it is to see before me scribbled on sticky note yellow the mantra I repeat three time while laying on the keyboard …

    I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just start typing. – Charles Lang.

    Liked by 1 person

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