Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm a writer, er...right?

Since I'm having a really slow day, and Apple isn't making their big announcement until Wednesday, I thought right now would be the perfect time to reflect on what I have done so far since starting this blog little over a year ago. At that time, Google+ was an absolute ghost town, and I was buckling down to try to finish my degree. In the year and a bit that has passed, I have written more words than I had up until that point in my life combined. Between emails, cover letters, blog posts, letters to significant others, and my thesis and corresponding journal article, I have written many, many thousands of words. Because I have a strong feeling that I have been trying to find myself, and who I want to be, during that time, I suspect that all this writing is probably connected with this feeling of being lost. It is probably also significant that I have read much more in the last year about the world around me (as opposed to my youth which consisted almost solely of fictional works, or scientific writing). Writing has become a very important outlet for me, and I find that I really have no interest in writing down my thoughts for myself (like a journal or diary), but that I strongly prefer sharing what I write in a public forum. While this does severely limit me in terms of what I can write about (I would surely be unable to find a job if some of what rolls around in my head were publicly available for perusal by perspective employers on the internet), it still means that I can declutter my own thoughts and sort out a variety of issues I spend a large part of my time mulling over. The added bonus is the great feedback I get from you people out there reading. I am starting to notice, for the first time, that my apparent readership is almost certainly outside of my everyday social circle, because I am getting into the 100s of pageviews per day, and I share this work with only about 35 people on Facebook, and about 70 people on Twitter, and I'm almost positive most people among that group aren't taking the time to click on these links. I really do appreciate the feedback I get in writing, and it really encourages me to keep going. On that note, I am hoping to do a little self-promotion before actually talking about what I was hoping to get to today.

I encourage everybody who comes here and reads this to make suggestions as to what topics I could/should cover in upcoming posts, either through my website robattrell.com, or directly via this link. So far I have only had the universally unhelpful suggestion of 'ur gay', but I hope that with some more direction as to what people want to know more about, I can keep posting more often and more relevantly.

The issue which has come to my attention recently, but which has always had a place in the back of my mind, is that of writing as more than just a hobby. If I already have the ability to write a decent amount in a short time, and a knack for breaking, or outright ignoring literary rules, what's stopping me from trying to trying to call myself a "professional" writer. There are certainly qualifications as to what makes a "successful" writer, but as far as I know, nobody can tell me that I'm not a writer. To me, if I write, by the very definition of the word, I am a writer. That being said, all I need to legitimize that sort of idea is to have a feasible way of actually making money from the act of writing. There are many different outlets that would allow this to become a reality, but obviously a few seem more likely than others. Comedy writer (a la Cracked.com), is an obvious choice, but I fear that trying to be funny might ruin any incidental humour my writing might otherwise elicit. Technology writer, which would encompass writing product and app reviews, as well as discussing various new and interesting technological and scientific stories, is something that I find greatly appealing, and which I would probably do well at given my attention to details and background in relation to those topics. It would interest me to write about politics, but Canadian politics is too boring and partisan to be made very interesting, and American politics is worse than an argument about religion (mainly because it is made out to not come down to an argument about religion). I firmly believe that any opinion or argument that is not based on reason is completely invalidated, and thus while discussing these topics will appeal to those who believe in reason (and which I would find interesting), it is not worth having to argue with those who don't. For that reason, if I do choose to write about something with staunch supporters on either side, it will happen very infrequently.

Those are just a few options of things I have thought about pursuing in recent past, and it remains to be seen what exactly will come to pass. One thing is for certain though, I don't know that I'll be able to stop writing.