Thursday, October 2, 2014

WHAT ARE WE DOING WHEN WE SIT DOWN TO WRITE?



I do it every day. I sit at a desk, and open up the latest project I'm working on.  I write.  I might have a specific idea in mind when I start. Or I might read over what I wrote the day before, or the week before, and pick up a thread from there.  Often I'm distracted from writing by trying to edit instead, although editing should probably come later.

When you sit down to write, you really want to do away with an impression you might be trying to make. I think you want the impression to be secondary to the creative act itself. At least at first, you want it to be raw.  This flies in the face of social media-  (of even this blog post, in fact!) Because if you're thinking about the impression you're making, you've got an editorial hat on - instead of just letting it all flow out.

But if it goes well, as you sit down to write, you find you are giving authentic voice to important and perhaps conflicting feelings.  When I write, I am trying to think,  and what  I mean by that, is to think through the voices of characters. And when at last I have finished thinking about the subject to my satisfaction, to the story's satisfaction, I have finished writing.    

And yet I am also trying to craft something - make something separate from myself.  Telling stories is a way of externalizing them  – so that they are apart from me, but also somehow have a life.  I put them away - but also give them voice.

Perhaps we all do this, for fear that our stories and thoughts will die inside us.  When I write, I must get the stories out in order for them to live.  I want them to have a life beyond me – a life apart from me.  

But were they ever me? Or were they just thoughts?  And if they were fleeting thoughts and feelings, why do I feel I own them?   

Perhaps when I write, I am trying to disown them. Giving stories and thoughts to my characters who in turn offer them to the universe.  Maybe I'm saying here's one for humanity!

Maybe I don't know what I'm doing at all. Perhaps it's all madness. I'm writing this blog post, because I'm a little bit mad, and yet I want to think the madness through.

How about you? What  do you think you are doing, when you sit down to write? 

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