I’ve been thinking about a comment made on my last post regarding the process of creation and what we should, or should not, put into our writing.
The commenter made a very good point in that as writers, we should first write what we are passionate about, what we care about, what we want to write, and the rest will follow, or not, depending.
I absolutely agree.
We are the creators. We are in control of what we put down on the page, and if we don’t care about what we’re writing, or we’re writing to a formula, or we are not engaged, it absolutely shows. This is true for both fiction writing and non-fiction writing.
When I did journalism, I was assigned things that were super boring. Ever been to a city council meeting in which absolutely nothing happens? If you have, you know of what I speak. If you haven’t, it is like the most boring class you’ve ever taken.
And, when I was a newb, I would produce the most boring write-ups about these meetings. I was bored writing them. My editor was bored reading them. And my audience was bored at the sight of them and didn’t even bother to read them.
I got that feedback. It was a bit harsh.
The term is finding a hook. I’m sure most of you have heard that term, and that is what I decided to do for every single thing I wrote. Find the hook, yes, and continue with the hook by becoming interested in something, anything, having to do with the writing assignment.
My writing got better. My editor was happier and I no longer was told by random strangers that my articles stunk (seriously, that happened several times).
I made it mine. I became, at least, a little bit, passionate about my output.
That was my nonfiction writing. I don’t do a whole lot of that anymore, now I am more in the fictional realm, but the thought is very similar. Which brings me, in that circular way my brain functions, to my son.
He is nine. Well, nearly nine. In those short nine years, he has developed this thing he calls “being in my head.” He is a deeply emotional child, with high levels of empathy, and for him, it is very easy to become so engrossed in a show or a book that he becomes those characters.
Being in his head usually involves jumping around the house, talking to himself, and throwing out random ninja kicks and punches to the air.
He is entirely and utterly engaged in whatever scene is playing out in his imagination.
Now, this is one of those posts that I am walking a fine line on what I am sharing with my audience and the privacy of my son. He is private about his time in his head. He does not like to be observed. He would rather it be behind closed doors. And he does not share what it is he is imagining. But to see it, to watch him so fully immersed in his world, is to be inspired.
Circular thinking coming back around…
Writing is work. Anyone who says otherwise has never put the time in because writing, no matter the genre or the subject, is hard work. Sometimes it flows and you look up and holy cow, 4,000 words done, but other times just getting 50 out is a chore. Most of the time, it is the latter rather than the former.
Work. From the point that you brainstorm to the point that you fix line edits.
But, writing is also a privilege. It is also magical and awesome. It is the ability to go so fully into our imaginations that we can exist there for periods of time.
It is amazing.
So often I forget about this magic, about this awesomeness. More times than not, I get lost in the work, which is unfortunate because this ability to “go in my head” is The Reason to keep writing day after day after day. Through the politics, and the rejections, and the self-doubt… to come back to the page is to come back to our imagination, to come back to the stories that we have, that we want to live in and experience, and, ultimately, to share.
Being in our head, friends. The ability to create an imaginary world that speaks to our passions, our interests, and our curiosity. This is why I create. This is why I write.
Why do you?