Deciding to pursue a creative passion—such as writing—for some is the most difficult decision they’ll ever make. For some it’s a calling thus eliminating the stress of selection. Yet for others it’s a folly, a spring fling, only played with until the next fancy delights and promises a momentary diversion. For the tormented artist there is only the passion and the decision they’ve made to chase the dream wherever it leads. There is no flirting or false commitment.
The road travelled to create is fraught with extremes–successes, failures, personal growth, and in some cases, lifestyle revamping. The peaks and valleys can rock, and in some cases even crack the foundation of the most dedicated and passionate artist. Ideally there would be an even keel in the creative process, with no explosions of energy or the draught of inactivity that is typically followed by wallowing and critical introspection of ability.
There are starts and stops, endless questioning of craft and sanity, and the dreaded, but expected failure, which accompanies the successes. Doubt becomes a constant companion, and can be intensely destructive if given free reign. However, if the writer (any artist, really) stays on top of his/her emotional swings, uncertainty can be turned on it’s head and used to push through the personal crisis allowing the writer to carry on until the darkness has passed.
All paths walked in the quest to understand and define a unique expressive technique, on through to the never-ending pursuit of mastering the craft, are the rites of passage that lead to a writer to becoming a word-wizard and master storyteller. As each stage of the learning process–through the trials and tribulations, achievements and grounding ah-ha moments—are overcome, knowledge and prowess accumulate, which inadvertently alters, and in many cases, redefines, the topography of a person, now writer.
Finally the writer is comfortable enough in their skin to proclaim to the world their passion and the commitment to write. The writer, now shiny and new, is eager to share her/his know-how, the shortcuts and secrets, and the hard won wisdoms, with the world. The right to write about the writer’s rite of passage for some is the reward for slogging through the muck and darkness, and not throwing in the towel. Yet for others it’s the desire to pay forward and share the benefit of their strife in the hope of saving another writer from the arduous and steep learning curve (honorable but this isn’t truly possible). And then there are those writers, of which I am one, who write about writing the sake of the their sanity.
Writing is the subject tackled by every writer, either in an essay or blog post, and in due course, the author interview. All writers are prone to dissecting their method in hopes of understanding the magic. A large percentage of what happens is good old mojo and will never be unraveled, at least not entirely. Not everything is definable nor can it be broken down into perfectly defined measurements and a dot-to-dot how-to. Writing, the verb, the noun, the art, and the practice, is a mystery, and to some extent as allusive as love. The desire and burning need to debunk the magic of something we can’t quite explain is human nature. It’s a folly for sure but it doesn’t stop us from trying.
To some extent I’ve accepted the daily rite at face value. It’s my daily call to action to spend as much available time alone with the page. I purge. I mess around. I create, and sometimes I get it right and make a little magic. I am intrigued by my voice, where it came from, why I write, and what motivates me to crawl inside the nucleus of an emotion. I question my ability constantly. I wallow in the tepid pool of tears if a rejection letter—regardless of how thoughtful it is—awaits me in my in box. But as intrigued as I am about my fragile eco system, I am more interested in hearing other writer’s stories. We learn from one another. We live vicariously through others. We are excited for our peer’s wins as well feel their pain when they lose. We’re a nerdy bunch. We have no excuses for our behavior and hope our families don’t move us out to the garage. We can’t help ourselves.
In the coming weeks I am hosting a variety of talented writers in a mixture of mediums. If you’re a writer with an adventurous spirit and willing to share your POV with The Writer’s Rite, on Wednesdays, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What advice would you offer a novice or a person teetering on the edge of commitment?