Being a writer is difficult to compare to other activities.
You could say writing is a little like being a research scientist who is looking for oddities in a dark space. Or, you could say it’s nothing like that, it’s more like being a panhandler on the side of a lonely mountain.
You spend most of your time dredging sand and mud out of the flowing river, and then you sift through the mud to find a nugget of something that looks like gold — could end up being fools-gold — then you dream a little, stare at the flowing water and try to make sense of the images of life that appear on the surface.
Or it could be like something else.
One thing’s for sure, writing of any kind, commercial, blogging, novel and story writing, is a very personal experience that requires skill and intellect.
Whatever writing is really like isn’t half as important as to whether you actually enjoy writing, or whether you are really a person who should be writing.
Should be writing? That’s my personal choice, isn’t it?
It is your choice. But human beings have a tough time figuring out what choices they made for themselves and which choices their peers made for them.
We’ve all learned that it’s important to stop at certain times in life, like when we are feeling exhausted or burned out, and take-stock of ourselves, our actions.
It’s during such times that we discover how much we are trying to accomplish, and that one of the things we do each day isn’t really based on personal wishes. It’s normally something we just think we should be doing to please others.
We are trying to fit into a social sphere, to be part of a group of people.
That’s good, it’s very human and it’s very healthy to find a group of other humans who share the same outlook and mentality as yourself. It helps you grow.
Starting to write for the first time in life, and I mean the type of start where you tell yourself that you are going to be a novelist or that you’re going to hammer that newly set-up blog that you called, ” The Big Tool “, and will in a later life annoyingly turn-up next to porn-site search results, is an exhilarating experience of new emotions.
Those emotions can go a bit wild and throw cart-wheels across the light fandango very easily.
A writer deals in emotions.
They are the writer-panhandler’s stuff to sift and sort when sitting at the keyboards and when together with friends in conversation.
The internet has given us all the opportunity to observe our fellow humans. Not completely and wholly, but to watch them make marks across the white surface leaving traces of thoughts and ideas that they wish to share with the world.
It’s wonderful when I come across a writer who has something thoughtful to say, I’ll stick with them for a while and follow their trail towards the next article or even check out their books or blog.
Haters and Lovers
Occasionally, you can come across a writer who clearly hates writing.
Why write if you hate it? In a world where you can do a video, or podcast instead, you could become a public speaker and outsource, for all three, all the writing that needs to be done.
Communication in various formats and mediums is wide open. Music, writing, video, podcasting, soap-box barker, each is an opportunity to work your magick.
When famous writers say things like, “Writing is easy, you just sweat blood and tears, and then it’s done.”, They aren’t telling us that writing a novel or great article is a horrible experience. They are telling us that it isn’t necessarily an easy experience.
Nothing good ever came out of easy-street.
If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, you’ll need lots of grit and courage to keep going, to write what should be written (don’t be pussycat), you’ll need to feel that love and desire to write grow in yourself. Just that alone will show you whose decision it really is to be a writer.
When you feel the need to write what you think then you are admitting that you are writer. When you follow those thoughts, write them down, edit them and not stop till you’ve done the best job you can, all because it was the only way you could do it, then you know you must write.
The wrong emotions that beginner writers often experience can be reflected in their way of styling themselves after the infamous stereotype writer. The one that psychologists told us about back in the sixties and the seventies.
The negative version is of a writer who flops around on a sofa most of the day, and as the evening draws in they type a few lines, crack open a bottle of red wine and tell everybody they need to sit alone and think and drink to get the juices flowing.
This type of writer ends up telling everybody they are writing, but they haven’t produced anything for a while. They soon begin to tell their friends that they are “blocked” — and damn it, their ideas are so good, if only the muse would allow them to get it written.
The writer who is honest, and knows that it’s all about hard work, that ideas come from the work and willingness to sit and sweat blood each day, they’re the ones who produce fantastic books and blog posts, or at least good stuff well worth the read.
The writers who wait for the muse and talk of being blocked, of wishing they could write, with the same excuses six months later. They visit writer’s forums and read and contribute to anything that reflects their own demise, should do a little self-examination and free themselves of their pain. Maybe, they aren’t writers and their happiness can be found elsewhere.
My point here is that writing is hard work. It isn’t a romantic adventure open to all and sundry. We don’t want to read every morsel of thought that passes through the brain of red wine soaked loafers.
Self-Knowledge and being a Writer
Self knowledge and honesty is a writer’s tool — even if you are only writing a short post on “How to Talk to Giraffes”, having the ability to be honest gives the mind the clarity it needs to express ideas properly.
To know that you are being honest with yourself is a matter of self-examination, intellect and the ability to understand basic logic.
Making choices is often affected by the need to survive, to make money. That’s where we can be in danger of doing too many things that are simply about pleasing our peers, or fitting into the wrong group.
Life is too short to pretend to be a writer when you’re not — you might find that being something else is your bag of happiness.
Not everybody is up for this type of lifestyle, constantly asking questions that matter, that must have answers. The answers that we instinctively know lead us to the core of the matter. The human condition.