Monday, August 14, 2006

On writing

Lately, I've been thinking about writing, turning the idea of it over in my head. I've been thinking about why I do it, what I hope to get out of it. What I like best about writing is the idea that I'm creating something real, using words to spin webs of emotion, feeling. But what do I want to get out of writing? What's my purpose in doing it? Where do I think it will take me? These are the harder questions, the one whose answers are less obvious.

I went out today in search of inspiration. I thought that if I looked hard enough, I'd be able to track it down somehow, that it would be something tangible. I went to the bookstore and roamed the aisles, studying the different books. All of them evidence that it can be done. I walked through the bargain section, wondering why these books were different, why they didn't make it. Is it enough to have a written a book or does it have to be a success to count?

Why do I write? I do it in part to get certain thoughts out of my head. I do it to see what I can do with words, how far I can push myself. Mostly, I do it because I have to. I can put it off but I always come back to it in the end; there is no leaving it for good. All these months I've considered it practice for something else, but what? There are so many books, so many stories out there already. What can I add to this history?

Tonight, I read through my journals, my notebooks, sifting through the words for a seed, a spark. There are bits and pieces of poems, stories, essays, lines scribbled in the margins whose meaning escapes me now. Much of it seems strange, alien to me, as if someone else wrote it. This unfamiliarity should bother me but it doesn't. I like reading something I've written and not being able to recognize it as my own. That, to me, is writing in its purest form. It's writing that comes directly from the heart without the interruption of the critical mind. It's the flow, the movement, the rhythm, like music. This is what I love, writing in a trance, letting the words come as they will.

What is the story I'm meant to tell? And is there, can there be, more than one? Is this even possible? The answer, without any hesitation, is yes. There is no room for maybe, no room for what if. I need to, have to, write this book, my book. I will not be able to let it go until I do. I have the will; all I need now are the words. I'm searching for an idea, the one that I'll fall so in love with that I'll be afraid to share it for fear it will disappear. I'm turning over stones and sifting through the wreckage, looking for truth. And I know, that somewhere, I'll find it.

26 Comments:

Blogger jason evans said...

You might start in the most special, most inspiring place of all.

You.

8/14/2006 10:11 PM  
Blogger ruby said...

i loved jason's comment, and i completely agree. i love visiting here, and i can only imagine that you journals and notebooks are filled with incredible things...

8/14/2006 10:17 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jason, you think? It doesn't feel that way sometimes.

Ruby, welcome. I always like to see a new face. I think mostly my notebooks are filled with nonsense but occasionally, I'll find something that surprises me.

8/14/2006 11:02 PM  
Blogger briliantdonkey said...

I think you nailed it on the head. You write because you HAVE to. I am guessing you are somewhat like me(my condolences btw lol). Sometimes you may go through dry spells, spells where the doubt and such completely override the wanting to write. However, even during those times somewhere in your mind there is that voice telling you 'don't forget about that idea #2343223 for a post. You put it off for a time but eventually there it is again, and again , and again. It keeps coming back like a telemarketer who just WONT put you on a do not call list. Eventually, it MAKES you write it down. Your book will be the same way only on a bigger scale I think. Instead of saying 'okay I will leave you alone' after you have written 400-1000 words it will say,,,,,'allright now that we have gotten a start, lets REALLY get busy.' For what it is worth, your writing is superb even when you don't feel like you are feeling it. Even then you express that frustration in ways that make me for one sit here nodding my head and saying 'yep I get exactly what she means.'

There I go again, getting wordy. Keep up the great work.

BD

8/15/2006 2:04 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

For me the words fall out accidentally. Sometimes the trigger is a funny conversation I overhear or have. Sometimes I notice the odd ways that people behave and contrast that to the ways that I or others would behave. My best posts come from moments that made me laugh at others or even myself. Maybe you could start that way. Think about a moment that was so funny that you laughed for minutes and couldn't stop. Try to recreate it.

8/15/2006 8:10 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Rob, you can get as wordy as you want here, it's no problem. I never thought of writing as a telemarketer before that's actually a very fitting analogy.

Scott, usually it works that way for me too but now that I'm actually trying to think of stuff to write about, I got nothing. I'm more of an accidental writer than a planner so we'll see how it goes.

8/15/2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I think all writers deal with this feeling. Your story will come, Rebecca, in the right way at the right time. You have the talent. :)

8/15/2006 10:51 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jeff, I hope you're right. I'm tired of waiting for it at this point.

8/15/2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger jason evans said...

Yes, Rebecca. What Ruby said too. Build a character from yourself and your own life. Explore your own unfulfilled wishes, disappointments, and successes. I'm confident it would be a wonderful story. And you already know from your blog that people will be drawn to read.

8/15/2006 1:06 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jason, thank you so much for the vote of confidence. It always amazes me that people continue to read this blog. I feel like it's just one big whinefest, 24-7. The best part about blogging is the connections you make and the fact that such awesome people, including yourself, continue to come here makes the world feel a little less lonely.

8/15/2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous fringes said...

Rebecca, I left a writing prompt for you in my one-word post comments.

8/15/2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Ninjas? Okay.......

8/15/2006 2:36 PM  
Blogger Bug said...

This post is really great. As others have said, you have voiced how I imagine all writers feel--and so eloquently too! I love the part about reading your journal as if someone else wrote it.

I do agree with a previous poster about the fact that your story will come to you!

8/15/2006 3:09 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I find that my best ideas just come to me out of - nowhere? Somehow my mind makes a great leap, and there's a wonderful idea. But I can go a long time without ideas coming. If I'm not writing, then ideas are more likely to come if I force myself to write - get ideas from books of writing prompts, from anywhere I can think of - these pieces usually aren't great, but they start something working again and those "flashes" of inspiration are more likely to come.

8/15/2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Bug, I hope you're right. But it sure is taking it's time.

Catherine, I usually find that my best ideas come when my brain is completely empty. Seems like I should be having these flashes of brilliance more often, doesn't it?

8/15/2006 3:55 PM  
Blogger willowtree said...

You will find it. There's no doubt in my mind about it. Just take your time.
If you have ever have some doubt in your mind about it, you are more than welcome to visit my mind.
I'll warn you now, it's kinda messy :).

8/15/2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger JimmyJames said...

Chasing that rascal called "truth?"

Go for it, I know you will do excel at it. But what is truth? I wonder............

Your blog and writing are good and I shall be interested in what you find under the stones and in the wreckage.

8/15/2006 8:22 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Willowtree, I'd love to visit your mind. I bet it's full of interesting stuff.

Jimmy, I'll be interested as to what I find to. Could be a whole lotta nothing for all I know.

8/15/2006 9:15 PM  
Blogger JimmyJames said...

I doubt very much if a whole lotta nothing is there, but then....

As you said, when the mind is empty is when you get your ideas.

Why do you think that happens?

Try meditation for a month and empty the mind of thoughts, and see what the Universe pours into that vacumn. You will be amazed.

Keep a notepad by the bed, and when you wake up between 3-4AM, be prepared to jot down your thoughts.

8/15/2006 9:33 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

I don't think the world is ready for what I'm thinking at 3 AM. It's usually something along the lines of "Why can't I sleep?", "Did I lock the front door?", or "Some cheese would be good right now." Not exactly mind-blowing stuff.

8/15/2006 9:40 PM  
Anonymous bookfraud said...

"some cheese would be good right now" sounds like a great first line to a story, actually.

as for your book, it will come to you if you let it -- i know i've overthought these things. only when i give up trying to control my brain does my meager brilliance emerge. (if that makes sense).

but if you have the drive and desire, the rest will fall into place.

8/16/2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

I like cheese.

I'm definitely an overthinker, in every aspect of my life. And your brilliance is far beyond meager.

8/16/2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I like reading something I've written and not being able to recognize it as my own.
This is good - so true!

8/18/2006 2:02 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Chiefbiscuit, does that happen to other people? I'm not so sure. It seems like that should worry me but it doesn't.

8/18/2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger DeeZee said...

Some days it all just pours out of me, and on others, I feel as if my fingers are stuck in molasses...like, uh, today, yesterday, but hopefully not tomorrow. I try to think of it all as a seed germinating. Keep watering and it will come when it's ready.

8/18/2006 9:15 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Deezee, welcome. It all goes in cycles, I suppose. We just have to be patient.

8/19/2006 12:10 AM  

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