Friday, April 07, 2006

Getting Back From Erstwhile

Hello, I'm Stephen. I'm an erstwhile writer.

I used to write. I was a writer. It was never my sole - never even anything close to primary - source of income, but I was a professional writer.

I wrote. I wrote comic books, screenplays, movie reviews, occasional essays and even short fiction.

I wrote all the time.

And then I stopped.

Not all at once. Gradually.

One partner and I fought to succeed in the world of comics publishing during a major industry downturn, and wore ourselves out swimming against the tide. We stopped.

Another partner and I learned the True Meaning of "And the Writer Got Screwed" when a dispute with a producer sent screenplays that we had laboured on for months and years way, way past development Hell - into permanent limbo. We stopped.

And I became a father. I took some time away from my day job to be a stay-at-home parent. I went back to my day job to provide for my family. I changed diapers, washed dishes, read storybooks, cuddled and hugged and kissed. I slept very little.

Writing? I stopped.

I never stopped feeling the need to write, the passion to create. But that need never found expression in action, because I was just too busy, and too tired. And wanting to do something isn't doing it.

I never stopped thinking, never stopped having ideas. I occasionally noodled in my notebook or on the computer. But I never finished anything - I barely started. There was never time. And having ideas isn't writing.

And one day, when describing myself in an online profile, I referred to myself as an "erstwhile writer."

Erstwhile. A very writerly, five dollar word that means I don't do it anymore. I'm a former writer. An ex-writer. I'm not a writer.

I'm living in erstwhile.

I don't like it here. I don't want to be one of those people who goes through the rest of his life talking about what he used to do. I want - and I need - to write.

I want to - and I will - get back from erstwhile.

This is going to be where I chronicle my journey, step by step. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...


I call first post!


Anonymous said...

Excellent, Stephen! I hope you'll post your plan, your roadmap I guess, too. Maybe a few of us equally Erstwhile and Unhappy About It writers can join you on your journey!


Anonymous said...

Ah, a single step. I heard that even a journey of a thousand miles can start this way!


Nicki-Joe said...

I'm proud, inspired and overall feeling warm and fuzzy to see you coming back into yourself.