I haven’t really focused on my writing in a few days, well, alright, perhaps more than a few. I often wonder if starting this blog is just another way of distracting myself from what I need to do, which is dive back into the deep pools of words I so excitedly gathered and produce from them something, something tangible.
When I or others even intimate that I am a writer there is a voice inside of me that laughs. I am not. I have not finished anything, really, yet. But I do believe that I will. Some define the moment when a writer becomes a “true” writer as the moment of publication, like the moment of conception; others believe that what makes a writer is the need to put on paper what before that existed only somewhere in the recesses of ones imagination. If the latter is the case then I have been a writer all along. 🙂
Today I came across a reference to a book called “If You Want to Write,” published in 1938 (!) by Brenda Ueland. (This was apparently her most famous book, but according to her wikipedia entry she was quite an interesting woman… fascinating little facts listed there about her life, so much so that I’ve ordered her memoir, entitled, simply “Me.”)
Alas, via the beautiful immediacy of our techno world, a few clicks and for under four dollars I now own the book, which I virtually flipped through, coming across a few things I’ll note here.
This passage describes a bit where I am in my two novels, reading, re-reading and it seems changing every sentence as I go along, while the story remains unwieldy and I have not yet attended to the whole, to the thread which unites all those untidy sentences:
When you have written a story and it has come back a few times and you sit there trying to write it over again and make it more impressive, do not try to think of better words, more gripping words. Try to see the people better. It is not yet deeply enough imagined. See them–just what they did and how they looked and felt. Then write it. If you can at last see it clearly the writing is easy.
This passage I love, as well as the title of one of her chapters, “Why Women Who Do Too Much Housework Should Neglect It for Their Writing” (keep in mind this was written in the thirties!):
We have come to think that duty should come first. I disagree. Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first–at least for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, lighthearted, and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear and all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom.
Who knew writing was the cure to all our ills!?
So my plan is to read through this book and dive back into my editing. Enough time spent dawdling (although I will fit in a blog entry here and there…)