As a writer, my biggest problem was starting a new story.
I would wrestle with myself repeatedly about the first sentence of every story I wrote. Sometimes I would even give up before I ever started on a new idea.
It wasn’t until I read a sort of impromptu guide written by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird, that I realized my mistake. She spoke about the difficulty of the first paragraph and not being afraid of first drafts. What really got me though, was a quote from another writer. I can’t remember his name but I know he said that writing is like driving at night with the headlights on. You can’t see your destination but as long as you have those beams illuminating the way ahead for a few meters, you will get there.
All writing is, is the ability to take whats inside our heads and put it on to paper. We may not get the exact beauty of the world or even a mere shadow of the brilliance behind our eyes but trying is the most important part. For me, writing is failure. Yes, we can dust it off, wash away the dirt and grime and polish it to near perfection but we will never truly re-create the gem that sparked this idea. The best we can do is attempt to copy it and even then it has flaws. But we try anyway.
If that’s even remotely true, then writing is an act of lunacy. It is the constant repetition of failure after failure. A futile gesture to the ethereal.
However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. As writers and readers, we are drawn to the struggle. We love a challenge and although many of us quit before the end, myself included, a few keep going and make their dreams reality. I guess, you could call us Gods in a way. We take nothing but thoughts and turn them into physical gestures on a page. And we sell them to people and they read the stories and they tell them to everyone else. Creation in its most pure sense.
I’m a very quiet person. I keep my head down out of fear and lash out when I’m disturbed. I live a very subdued life and with this blog, I hope that will change. But I guess that’s why I loved writing, it is the one place where my fears and insecurities can’t touch me.
I think it’s the same for almost everyone who decided to pick up a pen or sit at a computer and write something. Maybe that’s why writers are such odd people. After all, all we’re good for is howling at the moon.