Writing with No Angle, and Other Shitty Stuff

Posted on Oct 28, 2011

I’ll admit it: I have no angle. Not only that, but a few brief moments ago, I didn’t even have a topic.

I stared at the blank page. But thankfully, having no topic in mind freed me to come to the realization I have no angle, either. Ah ha, there we have it – an idea: having no angle. And so voila, now I’ve got a topic… But still no angle.

Supposedly to write without an angle—that specific perspective only you can bring to a piece of writing—makes the act of writing completely pointless, generating a boring and utterly unreadable piece that your readers will hate you for. But! I’ve found a loop hole, you see… I have no readers! And my musings are nearly always pointless anyway. I couldn’t objectively comment on how boring my pieces are, partly because I never read them, and partly because my ego won’t permit me the liberty to think I’m not the best undiscovered writer of the century.

You see, a lonely writer requires just such a false sense of hope and a stubborn belief that somehow what she’s got to say is undoubtedly better and certainly less boring that what the hoards of other unpublished writers—lurking in basements, home offices and glass towers everywhere—have got to say. This kind of (possibly false, but who knows because no one’s ever read our stuff) belief keeps us going much the same as the promise of three cherries in a row and dinging bells and twirling lights keeps a middle-aged gambler cranking on that slot machine arm. Some people have, indeed, hit the jackpot. In fact, some writers keep on hitting the jackpot with book after book on the New York Times bestseller list. And besides, who knows? I’m not one to deny fate if I’m meant to be the next one to hit the big time.

What’s great about having no angle is that without one you’re not forced into any kind of consistency or point of view at all. With no point whatsoever, we angle-less writers are free to ramble incoherently until we’ve exhausted the cyan ink in our Pilot pens or killed the batteries in our laptops. And so we write on.

Another handy side effect is that, by virtue of the fact that we’re writing (albeit with no paycheque or purpose) it automatically makes us “a writer.” We can claim this title honestly, because like someone who chews their fingernails is “a nail biter”, we put pen to paper, and thus, the truth is, we are writers. This, happily, does not even limit us to being good writers. No, we wouldn’t want to make the issue more complex than it is. Nail biters rip, pull and tear fingernails… that’s not to say one nail biter is better than another. It’s simply a fact. We angle-less writers are stewing over syllables, sounding it out, searching for just the right synonym, precisely as every writer on the New York Times bestseller list has done. So, no, we shall not fuss over irrelevancies, pigeon-holing ourselves into unnecessary categories of writers, or good writers or even paid writers.

No doubt every writer before me and every one after will struggle for a time without an angle. If the floor wasn’t so cold and if I were wearing pants I might get up to retrieve some research on that very thought, which, if I had an angle, would do well to back it up with facts and solidify my unique perspective. And if we were lucky, it would make the whole piece worthy of a coveted scientific-looking footnote! Alas, the floor is cold and I have no pants on and I have no angle to research anyway.

I realize the title of this piece includes “and other shitty stuff,” which was my cheap way of hoping to trick you into reading this regardless of whether or not you give a rat’s ass about writing angles. I’m sorry to disappoint, but other than the fact that being an unrecognized, unpaid and unpublished writer is shitty, there is very little ‘other shitty stuff’ to be found in this piece. Except, of course, for the piece on the whole being shitty, because, you see, I have no angle.


« . . . . . . or . . . . . . »