I'm reading Richard Russo's The Destiny Thief, essays mostly about writing, and wondering why I've made so little progress at the craft. I'm a better writer compared with the boy I was in high school, the man-child I was in college, and the guy I was a couple years ago. I've learned some things, but I haven't learned enough to become a writer, someone who wrings his bread from the page. How come it's so complicated? Why can't I make it happen?
This got me remembering notes I wrote in the car outside the high school pool waiting for my daughter. I posed questions and then answered them in ways that were obvious but maybe a little unexpected. For example:
Want your phone battery to last all day? Stop using your phone so damn much.
I quit social media last month and am gaining distance from it. The first week wasn't tough but I still felt drawn to the stuff. I only occasionally feel the twinge now, but my accounts are all deactivated. Because of this, my phone has become less important. I never developed the habit of taking pictures often. I gave up writing or note-taking on it. I wear an analog wrist watch, so I don't need the phone to tell me the time. Without the social media slot machine to occupy me, I have few reasons to use the phone and usually plug it in each night with more than half a battery charge remaining.
Tech companies have to worry about how to make a phone battery outlast all-day use, but I can just choose to use the phone less. Miracles work this way. Solutions come out of the unexpected. I got the battery I wanted without changing phones. I changed me instead.
This has what exactly to do with writing?
It's no wonder that my writing career hasn't gotten off the ground. To fly, I need to move into the wind swiftly. I should work with other writers (something I tend to avoid), send work out for rejection or publication (something I dread), and take a class to develop and evaluate my abilities (something I might have trouble affording).
If I want a writing career, I'll need to apprentice to the craft and to the crafts-people working professionally as writers. Duh. So obvious. How did I miss that?
I was probably on my phone.