Why I Want to Write Romance

I am a big fan of stories that involve action, thrills, and lots of violence. In the world of anime, I am a fan of what is known as GAR, which is basically anything that is rough, tough, and manly. I do think stories are best when they can blend and balance that kind of stuff with drama or a touch of comedy, but for the most part, I find watching inner struggles become physical to be incredibly rewarding as a reader.

When I write, however, I always seem to drift towards romance. That seems so odd to me, and it caused to me really stop and think about what it is about love stories that makes me want to write them so badly.

I think love is one of the strongest, most intense, and most powerful emotions that humans feel. It can bring peace to a person’s soul, or drive them mad. When you truly and honestly love someone, you never truly know what lengths you will go to for that love until those limits are tested, and delving into the things that can result from testing those limits is something I find incredibly gratifying as a writer.

The truth is, I feel that I am at my strongest as a writer when I am exploring the complexities of interpersonal relationships and how they changes people and their perspectives. Of all of the types of relationships, romantic ones happen to be the most engaging for me.

Another great thing about the concept of love, lust, and desire is that it isn’t limited to just people. The passion for not just others others but ourselves, our religions, or even material things drives people to places physically, mentally, and emotionally that other things normally wouldn’t.

It’s breaking down the way these emotions work and change people and situations that drives me to want to write romance more than anything.

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What It Means To Be A Writer

I often spend time chatting with my little brother, Anthony, over Team Speak, a voice chatting program designed primarily to keep people in touch as they play computer games with each other. Last night, I stayed up with him and our friend Alan until almost one in the morning, chatting about some fairly deep stuff. We began talking about our fatal flaws, and how we believe they originated.

One of my biggest flaws is that, through what I assume is my severe lack of self-confidence, I have been rendered completely unable to write the past few years. My brother has read some of the stuff I wrote many years ago before this began, and he always loved what I wrote and encouraged me to continue.

Last night, he told me that it saddens him to see me in this state with my writing, because he knows that I love it and that I’m good at it, but I keep getting in my own way. I look at a blank piece of paper or a blank screen on my computer, and if I even think about writing, I simply burst into tears, and am unable to produce anything.

At one point during the conversation, he said to me, “No offense, Gina, but I don’t understand why you don’t just look at the blank screen, put your fingers on the keyboard, and just do it!”.

Although the reaction I described above is what happens when I attempt to do exactly what my brother said above, the truth was that I really didn’t have an answer. Why can’t I just do it? What is it that turns me into a sobbing mess every time I try to engage in the one thing I want to do the most in life?

The answer came to me as I was visiting my local book store today. I went into the section where they keep their books on writing, and I found an innocent looking little book called The Writer’s Portable Therapist by Rachel Ballon.

I opened the book and landed on a random chapter dedicated to the crippling habit of saying to ones self ‘I’m not a writer’. Rachel happens to be a psychotherapist, and she told a story in this chapter about a patient who came to see her and couldn’t write. She eventually worked with him and helped him discover the crux of his problem, which was that he stressed himself out so much over his own insecurities about his level of talent and starting his writing at an old age, that he had taken all of the fun and enjoyment out of writing. The basis of the points she was making was this: If you write, you are a writer, and if you don’t think like a writer and believe you are a writer, you’ll never be a writer.

I had to fight back tears in the store as I clutched the book to my chest. I realized at that moment what my problem was: regardless of why or how it happened, I no longer find any enjoyment in my writing. Something within me, whether it be my lack of confidence, or a fear of failing, has robbed me of the fire, passion, and joy I used to harbor in my heart every time I wrote.

I also realized that I shared another problem with the patient she mentioned in this chapter: I have never considered myself a writer. On every website I’m on, I always say I’m an ‘aspiring writer’. I find that if you don’t have anything magically perfect that you’ve written, or if you’re not published, calling yourself a writer usually gets a pretty negative reaction from other people. They see it as you being rather full of yourself.

But what, I ask you, makes someone a writer? Is there a defining point in a writer’s life or career that officially gives them that title? Does having your name on book on a bookshelf or listed for sale on a website make you more passionate, talented, or driven about writing than someone who is just starting out? Who or what gives anyone license to decide if the title of ‘writer’ is a crock of shit or not?

Well, here are the answers as I see them: There is no defining turning point that makes someone a writer, there are many people with fantastic stories who have yet to be published, and there is nothing in the world that gives anybody the right to judge someone’s status as a writer.

If you write, you’re a writer. Plain and simple.

And yes, I am proud and happy to say that, even though I haven’t put prose to paper or screen in years, I am a writer.

Even through blogging here, I am a writer. I love words and language, I love taking thoughts and emotions and evoking them in others through my writing, and even though I am having such severe difficulties writing, I have yet to give up on it. Somewhere, deep inside of me, buried under self-loathing and fear, the passion and fire I have for writing still exists.

I want to live my life as a writer. I don’t want anything holding me back. I don’t want to give up or falter in this. Even if I die tomorrow, I don’t want to say to myself in my last moments that I never achieved my dream of being a writer. I am living that dream. I may not be very far into it, but I am in it nonetheless, and it’s time to start thinking that way and believing it.

As a final note, I highly suggest picking up this book yourselves. You can nab it off of Amazon for a really good price by using the link above. As soon as I got home from the store, I jumped on my computer and purchased it for my Kindle. I will carry it, and the lessons contained in that one random page, with me wherever I go.

Earthquake!!

So yes, as most of you heard, we here on the East Coast were subject to a very rare occurrence for us: a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that was felt from North Carolina to Toronto.

It was a frightening experience, to say the least. When it hit, I was sitting at the front desk in my office (which is on the third floor, by the way) in place of the receptionist, who was on her lunch break. A man came in, a recent law school graduate, to give us his resume in hopes of getting a job. As I was telling him that I would ensure his resume got to my office manager, the building began to shake. We sat there, staring at each-other wide-eyed for a good ten seconds before he said ‘hope you stay safe!’ and ran out of our suite and down the stairs.

When he turned and ran, I realized what was happening; I was really in the middle of an earthquake! People started pouring out of the office to exit the building, and my office manager was crying ‘holy shit!’ over and over.

I ran to the other side of the office where my cubicle is, grabbed my belongings, and exited the building as well. By the time I got out of the suite, the shaking had stopped. It lasted about 30-45 seconds, but it was truly one of the most horrifying experiences of my life.

Of course, only more panic spread once we all got outside. Everyone was trying (and failing) to call their loved ones, and those that managed to get through on the crowded phone lines were shocked to hear how far the earthquake was felt. My mother, who lives in North Carolina, ironically thought that it was just a plane flying overhead that was a little too close to the ground (she lives near an airport, so that’s common for her).

Eventually, everyone made their way back into the office, but I really just wanted to go home. I’m still shaking, and I most likely will be getting little, if any, sleep tonight. Luckily my friend Megan lives in Washington state, and since she’s three hours behind me, she stays up super-late for my time zone. She’ll be keeping me company tonight, thank goodness. That and a nice, soothing night of Minecraft should calm me down. I hope.

I hope all of you readers who also reside on the East Coast or have family there are safe. There doesn’t seem to be any injuries or fatalities, but some family of people who work with me that live in Virginia said there were some broken windows and whatnot.

Feel free to share your experience with the quake, or other earthquakes you may have been a part of, by posting in the comments.

A happy and safe evening to you all!