Today’s piece is written by Terri Edna Miller, Independent Filmmaker, member of the Guild since 1994.
I love writing, I hate writing. I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it. It’s too hard, it’s a kick. I go to extremes to avoid it, from cleaning the oven to scooping the dog poop from the back yard. Writing is a non-contagious congenital malady. I wrote my first story when I was seven. It was called Pilford the Penny and if you want to read it, I’ll send you a copy. The one-line is that Pilford goes on adventures from the time he leaves the mint to the time he becomes a part of someone’s beloved collection. Nobody made me write it. I did it for fun. For FUN! My mother and father were worried about me because I wasn’t outside playing or inside watching TV. I was alone in my room with a pen and a spiral notebook making up a story about the adventures of a penny. If I did that today, would I be medicated
I don’t know why I wrote. I do know that it wasn’t a choice. When I went to my Summer Camp, I was the one who ran the camp paper, wrote the crossword puzzles and wrote all the prayers for services… even when it wasn’t my turn, I traded writing against getting my ass kicked by the bigger girls when it was their turn to put dreaded pen to dreaded page.
I’ve gone through periods of time when my writing has been very successful. I’ve won awards for it, supported my children with it and paid the cover charge to be able to enter the Karaoke club to sing “I Will Survive” with it. I met my husband because of it. I’ve lived out several of my fantasy life scenarios because of it. It’s given me my highest highs and lowest lows.
I’ve had lackluster times in my writing career, times when I thought that I must be the most untalented hack in the English speaking world. It’s always the same routine. I tell myself I’ll never do it again, then something awakens my imagination and it’s like a tick burrowing into my consciousness. The only way to get rid of it is to burn it onto the page and find a way to tell that story to whoever will gather round the campfire and listen.
WHY WE WRITE is a series of essays by prominent – and not so prominent – TV and Film writers. Conceived by Charlie Craig and Thania St. John, the campaign hopes to inspire and inform all writers during the strike, and perhaps beyond. If you’d like to comment, or tell us why you write, visit the Why We Write WordPress site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.