Life in the Fast Lane


Writing About Writing

By 11:22 AM , , , , , ,

Honestly, writing is such a paradox.

Sometimes, it comes so easily. The words and ideas flow endlessly and take me to places beyond my wildest dreams; I may not know know where they're headed, but it's fun to go along for the ride. So I enjoy waiting it out.

Other times, there's nothing. My mind draws a blank. After blank. After blank. What's frustrating is that there's so much to say, yet there's nothing to say. And these are the times when I'd rather not write: when I know I'll be producing fluff that won't contribute to the greater good of humanity (or so I'd like to think).

I wonder how writers can come up with story after story; novel after novel. How do afternoons in coffee shops produce billion dollar trilogies and franchises? How do hiatuses (hiatii?) up in the mountains result in award-winning pieces?

The funny thing is, more often than not, I'll wager that they don't know the answer either. They just write. If things go according to plan, then they get published and sell. If the "manure" hits the fan, then they'll disappear for a few years 'til their next piece of literary genius is unveiled.

The thing is, they wrote.

Image nicked from Google.

They took one of the greatest steps of faith and put their pens down to scribble (or they pounded on the keyboard). Their ideas didn't fester in their minds. They actually materialized into something.

If you were to ask me, I'd say writing is one of the greatest acts of bravery out there. You're forced to reveal what's inside you (even in pieces of fiction set in dystopian times) for the whole world to read. It's basically parts of your innermost being captured on paper (or as text on a screen). Yes, even in something as basic as blogging.

If you're blessed, your readers will laugh and cry with you. Other times though, you get critiqued and ridiculed. And to be completely honest, it's much easier to bash someone's writing style or plot than it is to fall in love with the story.

Maybe it's the courage to write that holds us back more than the so-called attacks of "writer's block". It's that subconscious fear that what you're actually thinking of is stupid, petty, irrelevant. That, when you write it down and flesh it out, people might hate it. (And if you're writing to make money, you worry that it won't sell.)

I've always wondered if, before I die, I'll actually become a published author (in the grandest sense of that word "author"). While I'm blessed to have experienced the thrill of seeing my name credited alongside TVC, radio, print, and integrated advertising campaigns, as well as bylines in a few magazine articles, there's something totally different about seeing your first book carrying your name on the cover.

Through the years, I've had several ideas ranging from children's book series to "dark" (pssssh, me writing dark?) novels. But I have yet to "give birth" to any of them, so to speak. My reasons would always be any of the following: lack of time ("How can I do this when I work more than 8 hours a day every day?"), lack of skills ("I'm not used to writing anything longer than 30-seconder materials!"), and lack of experience ("My only attempts at 'real writing' were back in college!").

At the end of the day, though: I'm not yet brave enough. I've yet to work up the courage to sit down, take a deep breath, and just let the words flow. Before shooting down my writing style, structure, character development, and every other possible writing nuance, that is.

As to when I'll find that courage?

Hopefully soon (i.e. in the not-so-distant future).

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  1. Hello! I know what you mean, writing can be a tedious exercise in futility sometimes. A trick I employed once was I wrote an opening paragraph about not knowing where to start that essay. And sure enough, once the creative juices got flowing, my mind and my fingers on the keyboard took off like a jackrabbit. Whenever I find myself in a writing quandary, I refer to this excerpt by Anne Lamott:

    Happy writings! Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi, anonymous! Thanks for dropping by and for that tip. Will definitely keep it in mind! Have a good week and hope to "see" you again here!


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