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Write On!
Hoping For Rock Bottom
By Ken Robinson
May, 2007, 15:10

Hereís an update on my endeavours to become a full time writer. Iíve had three part-time jobs to pay the bills Ė at the same time. I guess nobody said it would be easy, but it seems to be getting harder. Iím hopeful that Iím hitting bottom, rock bottom, and will be digging my way back up soon. But Iím not so confident about that as Iím out in the camper trying to type this following an ice storm; and the heater isnít working; and Iím trying to type in gloves while itís about 15 degrees. Thank goodness for spell check.

The reason I havenít tried harder to get a full-time job is because I donít want to go through the learning curve of another job I donít plan on keeping. That doesnít mean I wonít have to soon though. Iíve been looking into a getting a teaching job. A teaching job would give me some time off during the year to get writing and filming done where a regular job doesnít. But it feels like the powers that be are conspiring to keep me out of it. And Iím not sure why.

One thing they say is that writers should write what they know.

Donít know how that works for world Armageddon novels, but it does appear that itís one thing going on with me right now. Iíve been placed in some situation Iíve never had before (man, typing with gloves is so annoying. Guess I shouldnít wait till so close to the deadline to get my column done. Hey, donít give me that look, Iíve been leaving the house for work at 8:00 a.m. and getting home at 3:00 a.m., so give me a break. Geez!) and being retaught things that I forgot. Like not having enough money or not knowing from day-to-day whether I would be working. Thatís the way substitute teaching is. Subbing is also being thrown in to deal with a bunch of people, specifically teenagers, you donít know, and they donít really care about how you feel. Man thatís a tough crowd.

With my projects, itís seeing their realization just outside my grasp.

So although I donít like the way some of these things are going,  I continuously remind myself that most of this is beneficial for my writing career and that the learning process is sometimes uncomfortable.

So Iím trying to look at my life as a continuing education process. At a regular job, they always want you to take classes for continuing education credits. For a writer, life should be your class room for your C. E. credits. No matter what you are doing there is something you can be learning about, whether itís the characters around you or the situations they, or you, are in. The last few months, Iíve learned how it feels to be in situations Iíd never been in before, and I have, or I will write about each of them.

I donít know if living a particular situation adds realism to your writing, but damn, your fingers do begin to hurt with the cold, and I know how it feels to work on a manufacturing line 10 hours at a time for two weeks straight with the understanding that the job is never going to get better. Canít say I enjoyed either one.

But one thing I can say is that I met a lot of characters on the job. To get this job, all you had to do was pass the drug test. One of the guys I met, rode to work with, and then made the mistake of going partying with, had been convicted of attempted manslaughter and was out on parole. And what happened at the party was an experience I can use in my writing, but I donít want to repeat. Also, someone stole my lunch. Canít remember that happening before either, not even in junior high.

Although the biggest lesson for me has been the loss of control over things in my life. And more than that it felt like the powers that be were conspiring to shift my entire life around for reasons yet unknown to me. Until all this is over, Iíll keep trying to learn from whatever is going on around me. And Iíll remember the motto ďWrite ON!Ē
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Ken Robinson, IN's Write On! columnist, winner of Bare Bones Int'l Film Festival Best Screenplay Award, has written over 10 screenplays, 3 episodes of TV series West Law, is executive producer for the feature Sacred Bloods, board member of the Oklahoma Film Society, founding member of Oklahoma Movie Makers. His email address is:

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