Wednesday, September 14, 2005

the need to write

I'm happy that writing feels necessary now. I went through a dark period - about two years - where I was convinced that it was no use. I don't know why; I just gave up (I know why; I just don't want to tell). I like to blame it on the fact that I was pursuing this 'creative writing' degree in academia, and so it became something *forced*. But now that I'm so close and yet so far away from that degree, I do regret not taking advantage of the end of it.

The first few classes were great. Then I get to "Advanced Creative Writing" and it's a repeat of the first one, with only slightly less people. I was already burnt out, and hated my full-time job at the time. I resented going to school, having to spend three hours every other night in classes I was starting to think were ridiculous and repetitive, wrangling with my perception (true or false) of the "high-mindedness" of people who lived in theory but didn't practice the damn thing. (really what I regret is not pursuing a more "physical" or "useful" degree, for all that money...)

I remember the instructor in my Advanced Creative Writing class saying something along the lines of, "There are some writers who will never make it even though they're talented, because they're too lazy; they're good, but they're lazy. Then there are some who will work and work at it, and get published because they really work at it. They just keep writing and getting better, and eventually they get published."

It was a dark time when I 'decided' I wasn't going to write then, that I was the lazy, decent one, that I was going to shun it and give it up as a false path. But here I seem to be again. It is a cliche, the author who "has" to write. I bought a very interesting book a few months ago called The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty, which discusses hypergraphia. It's worth a look. Incidentally it was the first book I bought in a long while that was about writing. Recently I also purchased Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, which was an equally worthwhile buy. Have to add The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman; another book that I have read lately that makes a lot of sense.

I'll say those periods of not wanting to write have often been filled with the feeling that I *should* write...that it was unnatural, wrong...but it doesn't really mean anything unless I *do* write. Or at least so it feels now.


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