Some Thoughts on The Agony of Writing
A friend , who is also a fellow writer, and I have recently been discussing the problem of finding voice. Specifically, he worries that he has no voice and even more specifically that his words do not amount to much. When we first meant I took him at his word, but the more we discuss the issue, I’ve realized that he may be a bit too critical of himself. He may be mistaking the difficulty of writing with an inability to write with voice.
When he speaks I not only hear a unique attitude and tone, but a plethora of ideas, which he has obviously spent many hours thinking over. The spirit of his writing is there in his mind; the difficulty is putting it on paper and accepting what ends up on the paper to some degree.
The point is that creating something is often agonizing. Writers have so many ideas in their minds and their goal is to translate them flawlessly into words, sentences, paragraphs. Very few writers write with complete inspiration, some sort of magical prose being emptied onto a page. So, it becomes easy to question ones voice when the process is painful and sometimes foreign. But, it is only in this pain that voice becomes apparent, lucid, and unique. It has often been said that the best art is created in the light of tragedy. It may follow that the best writing comes from the pains inherent in writing.
It is also true that perfection is the enemy of creation (sometimes). One must be able to accept that some of one’s creations will later look wrong, terribly flawed, etc. That is not just okay, but good! I think.
as you get to know yourself, you get to hear yourself thinking, and when the thinking begins, get before a screen, and just pollute it with words, you’ll be amazed
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Writing is hard, and I don’t think I realized how difficult it is to tell a story. Being a perfectionist, I get very emotional when my stories aren’t 100% on the first try. I am learning to overcome that and to gain patience. This particular post focuses on writing with a specific voice, but I think the advice and thoughts are applicable to all writer woes.
Yes, just write!
Writers are their own biggest critics. We write, we erase (or delete),. We rage against our thoughts, we think it’s all crap; we think it’s all brilliant. We feel useless, worthless, and just less some days. Other days we are superman, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling. It’s the essence within that has to win out. It’s the pursuit of the passion. Without passion our writing dies. Without a reason to write, there is no reason. Maybe we’re not ready to find out voice yet, maybe we’ve found it and just aren’t tuned in to the right frequency yet. Ah…. I don’t even know myself…
It may follow that the best writing comes from the pains inherent in writing. – I must agree with this line. Write and discard preconceptions of what the finished writing is supposed to be. You will accomplish so much more.