Writing is a muscle, a superpower and a way of translating the world into smaller bites for other people to digest. This is not for the faint! But be brave in your wording, steadfast in your creative intent, and don’t be afraid of critics.
There are deep feelings attached to writing, even wanting to write. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to come up with an idea to write. Let alone try to make that idea something concrete! Trust me, I get it. Ernest Hemingway said the way to write is to ‘sit at a typewriter and bleed.’ In some many ways, Papa Hemingway was right. The hardest thing sometimes as a writer to totally unleash what is in your head and heart at the same time.
At the same time.
Some of the boldest things you will ever write will be the most painful. Writing is cathartic and hard. Really hard. But, not impossible. With that in mind, I pose a question to you.
What are you scared to find?
You shouldn’t be scared–you know where are all the monsters are, where are the dark places are–you have the map! You are the light! Nothing that you find should be a shock, surprise or so foreign to your imagination that it cannot be handled. Writing requires a type of bravery which demands you be equally aware and humble. You must be aware enough of your own imagination so that you can create; humble enough to know that first drafts are the roughest expression of what you desire to create.
Now read that again.
Again, I pose the question: What are you scared to find?
In spite of support, opposition or doubt–continue.
It is a powerful word, continue. For a writer, it means you have or should be endowed with enough strength to complete that which you have started. Regardless of how long it takes. Regardless of who thinks you can’t. As a writer, continue is your superpower.
No matter how long is has been to start, no matter how long it may take to finish. Activate your continue. That, dear one, is at the core of all writers.
Websites are amazing! One of the coolest things about having a pen name, or any type of on-line presence, is that you can build that presence to your liking! You can allow your alter ego/literary persona ‘space’ if you will, to be independent of you.
That seems kind of Frankenstein-Mary Shelley, but there is a peace for this. Especially, if there is a day job that you don’t want conflicting with this. Moreover, if you are writing about something that you don’t want family, friends or neighbors to know about. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to separate those lives. It seems crazy, but is necessary in some cases! And in some circumstances, kink-shaming is still real. Certain sexual situations or real-life retelling, are too much for people!
Having a specific place, a virtual house of sorts, to put everything allows there to be one less thing to worry about. The time and energy used to stress out about being seen, can be used to create. You are a writer, an artist, and you need that energy to put towards other things!
What I want you to know my dear writers, storytellers, oracles and dreamers, is that you should never feel bad for this. You should never feel bad, or be guilted for making space that you believe that you need. This is one of the reasons why free domains exist. Make your space. Create your worlds. Let the people in your head out. Stretch out in your talent, and enjoy the ride.
Besides, you are the captain of this ship. You have the power to create and destroy as you see fit. In choosing to have such a level of artistic autonomy, you invite your potential audience to like two genres without ever asking them to do so. You invite your readers and audiences to enjoy, to devour and keep coming back for anything that they like of your work. Even if it is in two forms. When the time is right, you can integrate those creative selves–and even then that is if you want to!
Have fun with it! Lead them towards Red rooms or Yellow Brick Roads…it’s all up to you.
The love of your life is no longer wants to speak to you.
*When I thought my talent, my gift, for writing was gone, I was distraught.
This was something I was able to do, and do well since I was eight. I had no idea how to function without that component. This was the one thing that I had which I believed I could have complete control over. After the breakup of a boyfriend, after coming out of the mire of that toxic relationship, the gift was gone.
It was gone.
No prose. No poetry. No essays. No stories.
I cannot emphasize how scary that was. How frightened I was! How angry I was! I was angry at the relationship that almost killed me. I was upset that I lost three years with a man that whom choked me to the point of unconsciousness on the floor of a bedroom. In a house we didn’t even own, no less. The command that I had, of words and language, was gone. I was angry, resentful and completely heartbroken.
I had saved my life. I had kept my life, at the cost of the murdering of my gift. To this day, I have no idea how that happened. It was gone…completely. I hadn’t written to the fury and power that I had before, even when I was with him. In three years, I had written maybe 6 things. Even though I journaled (I’ve always journaled), there was no other creativity that came. Or would come.
All together, my writing drought started in late 2000, and ended in March 2004. For four years, I had lost my first love. And I had no way to get back to it.
I know what it is like when the words won’t come. I also know what it’s like when the words cannot even be found! I remember how helpless I felt. I remember how lost I was. I had described myself as a writer, someone who writes. I lost my gift and identity.
There was this creative black depression that I found myself in. I was too ashamed to tell people what I was feeling. How dumb I felt for staying with him. How much I hated him, which was a little less than myself. But it was my mother that asked me, “Are you still writing?”
“Are you still writing?”
These four words compelled me not to abandon hope. These four words where a lighthouse. Among this dark ocean of despair, someone was looking for me. Someone knew who I used to me, what I could do so well, and sent out an SOS. After finding the strength to get back to pens, paper and keyboards, I wrote my first poem in over four years–to a Maroon5 song (This Love from the Songs About Jane album).
It felt as though I was learning to walk again. The keystrokes were clumsy and unsure. I erased a lot, and rewrote. But it was there. It was there, and I could see it. The words were out. And I was free.
The dirty secret about writing which I am no longer afraid to tell you is this: you have to learn to fight. You must. Audre Lorde said there are times as a writer when you don’t write. She goes on to say those times are devastating, because writing is like breathing.
I remind you fellow writer, letter conjurer, page bender. There is a way back. There is a way to get back to your first love! The light will come. You are seen, you will be spotted in that ocean. Someone needs your talent. Someone needs your take and imagination. Someone is going to ask you, with concerned confidence, “Are you still writing?”
*For more information about my writing journey, you can purchase a copy of WriteLife on Amazon. Go ahead and click here. Consider it a lighthouse.
According to the Second Oxford dictionary, there are 171, 476 words in the English language. Those words are made up of only 26 letters. It is, will be, the desire to manipulate these letters–bending them to will and imagination, this is the game, beloveds. This is the challenge, this is the game, this is the discipline.
In committing to writing, the manipulating the world with words and letters, it cannot be overstated that the focus writing involves is unlike anything else. In sitting down with paper, pen or computer, you agree to allow your imagination to unfold and flow until its cessation. Until its cessation. There is a laser-like need had be writers to know how it all ends. To know what the characters, the line, the scene–the words–we have to know what it all means, how it will sound and how to bend it towards our will.
Writing, the curious alchemy, is a muscle. In developing this muscle, or any muscle, requires time and focus. The strength of that muscle, even its stamina, comes from its use. Maya Angelou said that you can’t use up creativity! However, no talent is strengthened or stretched without discipline–that enhanced focus to improving a situation or circumstance.
Honor this talent you have, this propensity to create worlds and their inhabitants! Embrace the journey writing offers you, what the talent gives back to you, and how far you may stretch out in it. Don’t fear the page, or idea.
Here are three tips to help:
Make it. Create it. Make use of it. Writers are bound and unbound by it. There must be a time you take daily to write, work on writing, or exercise that same imagination. Writers are creators and creatures of habit–and for that reason, there is never enough time.
There is a soothing in hewing out a place in your own space dedicated to what you love to do. Whether that be your bed, floor desk or couch. Stephen King recommends doing the same thing in On Writing. In King’s wisdom, when you cultivate the space, you are more apt to create more, or desire to create.
There is a power which happens to you when you know the writing is good, when you know you have wielded the wind with the alphabet. The more that comes from you, the more which will come out of you. Some writers and other mystics call it the flow. This creative energy that is palpable and able to be harnessed to unfurl all your imagination holds! Don’t fear that…embrace it, use it.