In Search of Words about Writing

by | Jan 8, 2018 | Inspiration, Writing Tips

What is it like to write?

When I first discovered Dylan Thomas in my early teens, it unbolted a mayhem of yearning inside me. I knew only that I wanted to do that with language, to cause a rousing inside another, simply by the laying down of words in a particular order so that they pierce and prod, stir and surprise.

But it was only when I started writing in my twenties that I learned my own way into the writing process. Until then, I had never heard of how in writing you might come across your own strangeness and feel yourself grow large and curious as words trickle from somewhere (inside? outside?) like soft rainfall, and make their way onto a page. And then how you might stand back on the crest of a day’s work and appraise the shape of the world you have formed from nothing – a blank page.

When I’m in the density of writing a book, Zed notices. He says I disappear. A part of me slips away. My personality changes. I talk less. I recoil from noise. I cannot watch TV. I prefer my own company. But in this fading out, I am filling up. I’m surging, closing in on something that feels just within and just beyond my grasp. I close my eyes and let myself sink. I tumble like Alice down the rabbit hole, and any disruption, no matter how small breaks the reverie, like an alarm clock on a deep and powerful dream. It’s a radical act of surrender to an energy carrying me, a tiny surfer on a massive wave, sourced beyond the confines of my body and my ego.

I love to write when I’m half asleep, sometimes with eyes barely shut, and see what seeps out.

 

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

Writing is searching for a vein, the best vein, piercing the surface and letting the blood flow.

It’s an affair without the guilt. Knowing something others don’t – being in on a secret entirely your own.

It excites me in a way that nothing else does, a blind date with yourself, replete with eager anticipation – will this work out or won’t it? Will you leave with a flutter in your heart or disappointment? You never know until it’s done.

In my day-to-day life, I’m foolish and mundane; but in writing, I can be wise and profound, to the point of utter unfamiliarity, of self-startling, the way we might gawk at ourselves in the mirror, after a professional makeup artist and hairdresser have done their jobs. Who is that person? Consequently, I like much better the person I am when I write. I’m more interesting, fascinating, deep and thoughtful. When our writing is carefully edited and rewritten, not the blurt of a first draft, every single weighed up word is a musical note in a perfect melody. Writing is architectural, structured, the ‘mathematics’ in Jorge Luis Borges’ equation ‘art is fire plus algebra.’ It is a true marriage of the wild, mysterious and untamable, and the careful construction of engineering and craft.

You sometimes hear of people living double lives – I know a woman whose husband pulled this off before he left her for his second family. I can see the appeal – especially for those of us who find the idea of choosing one set of circumstances annihilating of freedom and choice. When I write, I am living this double life, without the commute or the deception. I am a self, larger than my choices and more beguiling than my personality. I can opt for the predictable and unimaginative (heterosexuality, monogamy, parenting, mortgage) because when I write, I breathe fire. I can force language do to things I cannot force anyone or anything else to do. I can pair words that do not belong together: heart-sweep. A bonfire of the groin. A huddle of psychoses. I don’t loathe myself for sitting in my sweatpants all day as long as I dance in stilettos and castanets on the page.

I do not know if I want to be myself if I cannot write. It is, like all terrible loves, filled with both longing and terror of how I would cope if I lost it.

How to Make Readers Part of Your Success When You Launch Your Book

How to Get Your Readers to Become Part of Your Success as You Launch Your Book   The purpose of launching you book is to get people to buy your book after all your hard work. To do this properly, you need to understand why people buy books. People buy books...

Nobody Can Do This, But Me

When I was younger, I believed I needed rescuing.One day, sitting at an airport, I realised I didn’t want to be that person. I was homeward bound, after galivanting with no purpose, when I suddenly recognised that I could take responsibility for myself, and that I...

That Dear Little Smear

When that big spunk of a Phys Ed teacher broke my virginity at eighteen, my mother did two things: she put me on the pill and sent me for a pap smear. I didn’t like the sound of that. (Who gets smeared? What is ‘pap’?) Next thing, I was on my back, feet in stirrups...

Who Are You to Write? (On Stroke Correction and Conviction)

These are excerpts from my diary in 2001, four years before my first novel The Dreamcloth was published. Some years ago, I decided it was time to learn how to swim properly. I mean, I'd had swimming lessons as a kid, but stopped as soon as there was no danger I'd...

6 Unexpected Gifts of Well-Being That Flow From Writing

'Words have helped me understand who I am - all of me, not just the loveable parts I present to the world in a curated Facebook profile.' - Joanne Fedler, Internationally bestselling author and writing mentor I didn't start writing to become a better person. Back...

The Mystery of Inspiration in Writing

When he delivered his Nobel Lecture in 2005, entitled Art, Truth and Politics, the playwright Harold Pinter said the following: ‘I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened....

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *