Monday’s Confession: I’m a writer because I’m bad at all the other things

I’ve always written. I’ve always written a lot and I’ve always written without much effort or inducement. To be clear, writing well is as big a challenge for me as it is for anybody else, but writing itself is just something I just do – pretty much all the time. It started as daydreaming when I should have been paying attention in math class or at football practice or at the dinner table. It then snowballed into writing the daydreams down. Fast-forward to today, and I’m the same dorky kid minus the Freddy Mercury-like overbite (no, I won’t share pictures) stealing an extra moment to scribble away the latest chapter from a story I’m working on.

When I hear other scribes frustrated by writers block, I almost feel embarrassed to admit that the pump in my head never needs much priming. My brain is constantly flowing with ideas, descriptions, plots, subplots, dialogues, monologues and punch lines. This is a good brain to have for a writer.

But it’s a bad brain to have for being anything else.

Examples include everything else I’ve ever tried to support myself with while pursuing writing: Telemarketer, cashier, assembly line worker, janitor, newspaper delivery boy. Yes, I was bad at delivering newspapers.

I’ve only been fired a few times. Mostly I would just quit and move to the next, hoping my drifting attention span wouldn’t mess that job up too. But it always did.

During the course of being really bad at things, I developed an odd affinity for the truly incompetthisoneent. I recall once feeling bad for an oil tanker captain whose ineptitude led to an enormous oil spill with untold damage to marine life. According to the conventional checklist of symptoms, I have Asberger’s-like levels of whatever it is people with Asberger’s have, but really this is just another way of saying I was meant to be a weaver of tales and not, God help us all, an oil tanker captain or an air traffic controller.

And that’s why I’m a writer. No collateral damage.

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