The hardest thing in this process pathway from getting what is in your head to and in the world outside of it, is converting thought into image. Since the onus of what is in your head, hiding in your imagination, is up to you.
IT IS UP TO YOU.
As a minority writer, you control the narrative, the story that you want to tell. No one else. Do not allow the world around you to adjust your lens. Let no one distract for what it is you want to show! What you have to tell, what is on the inside of you, can only be told by you. As James Baldwin said: “Fire the imaginary White man that sits on your shoulder!”
Don’t fall into troupes—they are only formulas! In the hand of any good scientist or alchemist, a formula is a tool. It is meant to be used, reconstructed and re-evaluated to suit the needs to those who have the wherewithal to change what they see in front of them.
Do not be discouraged by those who can’t see what you are creating. Do not be dismayed by those who cannot support what you are creating! They are not your concern! What you must be concerned with is what you want to show the world! What is on the inside of your head? What part of that do you want to share with the world? Is there more you to come? If so, keep going.
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?
I know where I was on this day 18 years ago. I even know the clothes I had on. I know what was on the radio, who I was on the phone with–even the shrill in my mother’s voice when she asked if there was a movie on Channel 4 when the second plane hit the other tower.
This week will be impossible for a great many people today. Writing, journaling, is a therapeutic tool. It is a way for you to confront what you are feeling in a controlled way. It is a way to heal, reflect and analyze.
There is a way to control and deal with tragedy and mourning. There is a way to deal with loss outside of medication. Writing is a purge of the soul as well as a tool against the encroaching madness of the world.
On today, consider blank pages to scream on. They are always willing to listen.
I have decided that this mastery of language is what I love to do. Like all journeys to the pursuit of mastery, I have decided what things work for me.
I can write best at night or in the early morning. I need music and a clean, quiet space. A friend of mine created a playlist for me to write to. I have a lap desk that I write at, and–at last–a desk. Ironically, the desk is messy. There are papers, post-its an pens everywhere.
The desk looks like the inside of my head: busy and creative. Stacks of tangible imagination at the ready, anticipating my return and devotion. However, what is to be remembered is the space in which you write, is completely yours! You can make it up, create it, break it, as you see fit. But, the space must be able to be conducive to your writing!
The space must be geared to your writing! This is space is your reprieve from the world, to focus on creating the ones your mind hungers for. Make the space conducive to your projects. Make it comfortable to sit at for long period if you need to. I love writing with natural light–you may not prefer this.
You make your space how you want, and how it will best benefit you. But make the space. Honor your talent. Respect your time and talents. Keep writing!
There’s something amazing about having a space to create, to write or brainstorm. Writers are obsessed with space. Blank pages. Empty tables and notebooks. We have to have space!
The beautiful thing about a writer’s space is that you can make unique to your talent or even a project. The space, your space, should facilitate creativity! Favorite things, scented candles, even favorite writing quotes. Take the time to construct the space.