The Slippery Slope of Becoming a Writer

Manic Monday: On Writingmanic mondays

What I know about writing is elusive. It’s as fleeting as the sunrise over the Rockies but can linger as long as some enchanted evening sort of love–a lifetime or the length of a night. I didn’t know this about writing when I took up this all-consuming passion. I was arrogant enough to believe I welded the power and could control the ebb and flow of my creativity on the blank page. I foolishly believed as effortlessly it is for me to flutter my eyelashes towards a lanky Gemini so would it be filing three hundred double spaced pages. Back then I didn’t understand enough about anything to know better. I had expectations.

In my passionate ignorance, I believed all that was required of me was to turn up each day for an extended period of time and magic would happen on the blank page. What I hadn’t anticipated were the nights I turned up at the appointed hour flipped the switch, waited and waited, and sometimes waited until the blaze of the morning sunrise burned off the bitter loneliness of an unproductive night. It seemed silly almost laughable at first because I had lived several decades without writing so how could the random night without words affect me so profoundly. Along with losing sleep I lost my perspective.

Since red wine and songs of love were not the cure for the void I felt during the barren hours I convinced myself writing was scientific. It’s not chance or random. Writing creatively was manageable, I declared to my good friend the man in moon. It’s a mechanical process thereby controllable by a force. All that was required was a deeper understanding of the craft. I started roaming the aisles of Barnes and Noble, the periodicals, the vast, and overwhelming virtual world, for content on writing. Sometimes reading another writer’s thoughts on writing made sense. I connected but the meaning in the words I had read fizzled when I closed the book or browser. I’d see the meaning clearly as I read the words but the instant I stopped reading the edges blurred, and everything evaporated as it does when you’re walking through a cloud of déjà vu.

When I started writing, I arrogantly assumed I would master my productivity and know everything there was to know about writing. What I ended up learning without a book, a class, or another writer, was that I knew more when I didn’t know anything. When I wrote without the details, without listening to others more seasoned on the craft, when I didn’t lose sleep over tense, or being something other than what I was meant to be, which as it turns out, is raw and authentic.

Writing is such a personal experience, unique to the consciousness on the other side of the page. How can the reader possibly understand what the writer went through to put words on the page? The years it took to find the courage to make a stand, to declare to the void, I am a writer! Hear me! Did you hear me? Please, listen to me. Read my words for they are of me, part of me, all of me. A writer sometimes feels that they are ethereal, part of a secret society that is not coveted. I didn’t know this when I started out. What I know about writing isn’t for me to share with you because I’m not like you or you like me. Each of us hears different notes in the keys on our respective keyboards.

What I can offer from my journey down the rabbit hole is that my perspective resurfaced once I shifted the unrealistic expectations I had of the ethereal muse to me. The understanding I sought in books on writing—the verb—materialized when I accepted my role in the writing process, which was to show up everyday and write. Even those times when creativity seemed lost it was/is my responsibility as the writer to write. Write. Just write. it’s my duty—some might say, obligation—to hash it out until my cadence resumes. There are days when the notes are flat and slow in coming but I push past whatever is blocking me until I hear the notes of my tune—the writer’s personal sonata.

What would your writer’s sonata/song sound like?

 

by

I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

16 thoughts on “The Slippery Slope of Becoming a Writer

  1. Very eloquently written, Brenda. I loved this.
    Reading about your continuous journey down the rabbit hole gives me comfort in my own ventures down the same hole, yet bound to land somewhere else. And this is the blessing through which our talents can only understand.
    There are times when my muse is constantly sitting upon my shoulders as I type and lose track of the time and word count. And then there are others where I am sitting at my computer screen at 5am and begging my muse to wake up. It is those times I usually have to repeat to myself, “You are a writer so just write!”
    Our job isn’t easy but when it is, boy does the creativity and imagination flow as our White Niles meat our Lake Victorias.
    Gina Stoneheart recently posted….Pushing Sales For Our BooksMy Profile

  2. “What I ended up learning without a book, a class, or another writer, was that I knew more when I didn’t know anything.”
    Amen, Brenda! We hear The Voice, we know what is true and honest within us, those words which with volcanic strength must explode upon the page as our mirrored reflection of who God made us to be. All there is left to do is write, write, write, and no longer worry if it will be good enough for anyone else to read. I truly believe, if we are called to this profession (obsession), we are already there in His eyes.
    I’ve been so busy with the new novel’s release and other obligations, I just now started reading your novel. I am absolutely hooked!!! You have a marvelous and unique gift, my friend. Never let anyone tell you otherwise, or you’re cheating your precious soul!
    Love and blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….My God Will Hear MeMy Profile

  3. I wrote you a comment on Blooming Late, but I have to agree with Patricia that you are an excellent writer. Yes, I agree with you that it is so much better to ignore what people say to do about writing and just write. For me the words just leap onto the page when I let them and even if they aren’t exactly what I want later, I still write them. The thing about writing is that if you are a writer you never stop writing. Maybe you will stop the actual act for awhile, but it is always there inside you and you look at the world in a different way than non-writers. A writer is always absorbing what is happening around them either consciously or unconsciously and then it percolates until it is ready to come out. At least that is how it is for me.
    Barbara Ehrentreu recently posted….I’m a NaNo Winner!!!!!My Profile

  4. My dad says “Unwell” is his song. lol How funny is that? Hmm, back in college (eek, admitting my age here) there was this thing going around to match songs to people and events in your life. One was the song for you own life and mine was “Semi-charmed Life.” I think that might work for my writing too. 😉
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Monday Mishmash 12/8/14My Profile

  5. Ashantay Peters

    I find that my creativity is cyclical. When the words aren’t coming, I don’t force them but simply work at another creative endeavor. I envy writers who “show up” to the keyboard every day, even as I recognize and accept that their approach doesn’t work for me. Perhaps I’m off key or hitting the flats too often, but that’s how I play. (smiling) Thanks for the insightful post.

  6. Awww… Now this is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!! Brenda, your prose hangs on that 4th para nicely.

    What I’ve learned about writing is I’ll never stop exploring, thus I’m always on a learning curve. Not boasting… but Just Saying…of almost 30 books (I’ve written to date)… 20 full-length novels; and each one yielded a different experience.

    From my perspective you are correct. Creativity is a ‘unique’ experience. No one but the ‘creator’ can tell you/”INSPIRE YOU” on how to lay down them words.
    RYCJ recently posted….It Makes A BIG DifferenceMy Profile

  7. I love Matchbox Twenty’s song “Unwell” and often choose it as my life’s theme song, so it would only be fitting to also be my writer’s song. What I’ve learned about writing is that you’re never done learning. haha
    Chrys Fey recently posted….Writing Tips Part OneMy Profile

    • Chrys, what is not to like when it comes to MB20? Very true about never being done. As soon as I finish something I am working on a new piece, even if it’s only in my head.

  8. What a fabulous post! I think it is easy for us to get caught up in all the rules and advice- but when I write I try (try, I don’t always succeed) to block out all of that because then I tend to get stuck. Instead when I go back and revise I try to clean up some of the common things I know I do wrong (that take the reader out of my story). I also try to make sure I set aside time to write and stick with it (though this holiday season it hasn’t been working out for me too well). Best of luck to you!

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