where the writers are
So You Wanna Be A Writer....

"I'm thinking about writing a book," a friend announced.  She's an intelligent, accomplished woman that is my age.  As the gathering reacted with smiles and questions, she continued, "What to you guys think?  Should I do it?"

Staying back, remaining quiet, I thought, Huh?

Maybe I've just never encountered this sort of writer before but the writing people I know started writing without asking the question.  They love words and stories and putting all their golden thoughts and bejeweled words down on paper or out in the ether so that others can make noises about the genuis we are as writers. 

Well, no, most of us don't think we're genuises as writers.  Most of us seem driven and gnawed - but we write.  We don't ask our friends or enemies if we should.  We don't conduct polls about everyone's opinion about whether it should be pursued.  We find a corner and a pen.  Sometimes we use crayons and an old notebook.  Number two pencils.  Anything that can be used.  Sometimes we use an old computer or a new one.  We gather up thoughts and ideas and harvest them like others reap grains and vegetables. 

I had no clue how to write when I first wrote.  I figured I'd learn as I go so I had an idea and wrote an essay about shaving.  Another followed about making coffee, then there were extrapolations of dreams made into short stories for my entertainment.

If you want to write, you write.  We write through physical and emotional pain, in darkness and sunlight.  We write as others speak, we write as we read books and watch movies, walk, bicycle, kayak and work.  We stare at screens and paper, awaiting the words' arrival.  We do it in secret, in private, in public, in classes and gatherings, in groups and gaggles, in bars, airports and aircraft, in coffee shops and restaurants, bedrooms and offices, living rooms, patios, and porches. We write scenes, poetry, observations, songs, stories, essays, posts, letters, articles, novels, books and opinions.  We do it alone when no one is aware of where we are, where we lose track of who we are.

We write. We get angry, hungry, frustrated when we can't.

"What do you think, Michael?" the aspiring writer asked.

I smiled at her.  "I'd go for it."

She's the only one she should ask.  She's the only one who can answer.

Really, if she's a writer, there isn't a question.

She will write.

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11 Comment count
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Yes

Many of us simply write because we must.  An addiction. An affliction.  Whatever.  To breathe is to write.

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Beautifully said, Sue ~

'To breath is to write.' 

Thank you for reading and commenting.  Cheers, M

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This post reminds me of an

This post reminds me of an article a friend posted yesterday on FB.  It's by Josh Olson and contains some very graphic language (or, really, just the same potentially-offensive word over and over) but is about the fact that aspiring writers often look to get free, external validation from more-successful writers when all the aspring writers actually want is an ego-soothe.  The article, if you dare, is here:

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2009/09/i_will_not_read.php

I completely get what you're saying here.  Your friend--bless her--is looking outside of herself for a book which, really, is inside of her.   

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I loke those insights, Amy ~

Although I'm aware of it and often write of it, I forget on a tangible level that the words, the stories, come from within.  And yes, sometimes I crave an ego-soothe.  My need for ego-soothes have lessened as I've grasped that I need to write for myself and successfully manage that. 

I dared - and enjoyed Olson's post.  I completely grasped where he's coming from.  I left writer groups for the same reasons he cites.  It took too much time to critique works in a meaningful, intelligent way - and as a struggling writer, myself, I didn't know if my insights were valid or applied, greatly increasing the time and energy needed to critique.  So I've retreated from those.

Thanks for reading and commenting.  Namaste.

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You said it rightly Michael,

You said it rightly Michael, one who wants to write never searches for an opinion.Writing is not a competition to win, nor a status to achieve. Every one with ability to think has lots of words emerging within. One's passion, patience and willingness only can transfer them in to readable kind. Namaste.

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Thanks, Jitu ~

You know, though, it was hard to understand my reasons for writing.  I thought I was writing for publication or a career.  That's when I sought the strokes to encourage me to go on.  Now that I write for myself, it's a much more liberating and spiritual adventure.

Thank you for reading and commenting.  Namaste

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Amy's link

Altho Amy's challenge was not to me, I could not resist it.  I made a rule years ago to say no to requests for help.  I explain quickly that what tiny amount of time I have to write, I must not use on someone else's writing.  (I do not consider myself great help to anyone else--sometimes I explain that.)  I do encourage others to write, but they need to send it to an editor --not to me.  Some people seem to have good luck with a writing partner that they meet and exchange manuscripts with for critique.  However,  I do not like to think about changing my words because of someone else's ideas or criticism. (I will do it for an editor.)

In wrtiers' groups, I always felt the poorest writers were often the quickest to give criticism, and I felt sorry for a new writer who thought that criticism was valid.  I liked Olson's analogy that asking for a reading from a writer was like asking a painter to paint your living room for free.  (These are probably the same folk who corner a doctor wanting free advice at a party.  GRRRR.  Bad manners are bad manners.) 

On the other hand, I enjoy fellowship with other writers and learn from information shared in writers groups.  That is why I am on Red Room. 

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Sue, that's exactly what I

Sue, that's exactly what I thought when I read Olson's article: its plain and simple bad manners to even ask.

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I read your excellent comment

I read your excellent comment Sue. And as you have rightly observed,I experienced myself being cornered to get a free medical advice at parties,buses,trains,flights,stations,funerals or at any place you can think about by known or absolutely unknown persons. Sometimes I agreed to do it,but other times It seems embarrassing and abusive,especially when you know that they are just asking and the advice you are giving doesn't mean anything to them.

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Sue ~

"However,  I do not like to think about changing my words because of someone else's ideas or criticism. (I will do it for an editor.)" 

I read that by another writer years ago.  While I immediately understood it, it took me years to accept it. 

As for the rest of your comments - absolutely.  Seeking such feedback seems like bad manners and desperation.  I also say no and I'm firm with it.  Fortunately, my writing friends are the same.  Funny, we all do offer to critique each other's work but none of use ever take up the offers.

Thank you for reading and commenting.  Namaste

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Smiling and nodding

Works for me!