Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Writers write.

You're waiting for Godot. But if what these seasoned writers are saying is true, you'd better stop. Because Godot rarely, if ever, comes.

It's the one thing aspiring writers are doing wrong: they're not writing. Instead, they're hoping to write, praying for the inspiration, and wishing for a time when they will just become prolific, articulate, and professional. They expect it to happen like a biblical 'suddenly': overnight and allatonce. Or in some elusive fulfillment of 'the right time'.

Not so, say the professional writers - the ones aspiring writers get angsty about emulating. Writing, they say, like any other skill, must be cultivated through practice and hard work. It is the exercise of putting words on paper that will ultimately increase and expand your ability to do just that. The muses will not just rain a lifetime's worth of genius on you in a day. Instead, they dispense the gift of scribe (or scribble) in small increments over time to a faithful few - the few who are relentlessly expending time and effort honing a skill they dearly love and deeply desire to master.

Writers write. It's as simple as that. If you want to be a writer, you must banish inhibitions or whimsical notions of a magical time to come when words will just flow out of your fingertips on wave after wave of endless inspiration. You must debunk your personal writing myths. And. Just. Write.

Write through drudgery. Write through the mundane. Write about the ordinary. Write about the exceptional. Just write. And give it a just effort everytime. Don't expect cohesion and flow to grace you with their presence everyday. Push for them to be there by very deliberately writing until they show up. 

Sometimes, they don't surrender to your coaxing and don't show up. Write through that. Write about that. Just don't stop writing.

Writing is magical. Yet it is not.  It is deliberate and intentional. It takes presence of mind and consciousness of thought. There may be times when you get lucky with a muse. But mostly, those bastards play hide and seek with you, like they don't know their importance to your budding writing career. Or don't care. You can't depend on them. So don't. Decide to write anyway.

I made an observation to a friend yesterday at the JCDC Creative Writing Competition (which is what inspired this post). What I've noticed is most aspiring writers seem to realise their writing dream (or attempt to) when they are in their latter years. Why is this? Why do people go through their whole lives with a desire to be a writer, but only act on it when their years on earth have been significantly spent and they are running out of time to do the one thing that has dogged them for most of those years? In contrast, singers sing. Dancers dance. They lift their contraltos and baritones and create rapturous melodies; their bodies become canvases for fluid expressions of motion. They flit and fly, groove and jive. They don't wait for 'a right time', or a 'spirit' to move them. They sing. They dance. And the recognition of talent (or lack thereof) is instant.

But the writer? He/She sits looking off into space, waiting for something extraordinary to move upon his/her soul before he/she gets to the task at hand. Do you see how nonsensical that is? Stop waiting for Godot. Stop waiting for a perfect moment. They don't exist.

If you are a writer, pick up that pen, turn on that computer, and take Nike's advice: Just do it! Because writers write. That's the only way to get it done. 



Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Writers write. It takes commitment, sacrifice, discipline. But that is just how it is.
Great post.

Quiet One said...

Good to see you blogging regularly again, Ruthi. I'm a silent admirer. You have a very nice writing style. Hope you make more use of it.

Mobile App Developers said...

Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

taiwan77 said...

Ruthi hi from Taiwan another island nation. You have the touch of a natural born writer. Start with short stories. Then make a book of those stories. You will find your way. I sense it in your personality even far away. So go go go and never give up! One note. The character in the Beckett play "Waiting for Godot" is named Godot. Pronounced "ga-DOE." Rsvp me anytime: bikolang at gmail dot com

Ruthibelle said...

Thanks Taiwan77
Encouragement appreciated.
And correction.
Will RSVP.