For The Love Of Writing

The creative process

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, which is a silly notion. How can you want to be something you already are?

Writing became me. It is intrinsic to how I live my life. I am a scribbler, an anthropologist, a curator of words.

Writing is my religion. It’s as close to God as I can get. When I write, I reach a meditative state known as “getting in the zone,” where I allow my mind to wander and find my creative sweet spot.

To stop writing because you think your work sucks or don’t know what to write about contradicts the writing process. Yes, we’re told to have a focus for our writing, to know our audience. But, writing isn’t like the movie “Field of Dreams” — write the post, and they will come. If you write for others and not for yourself, squandering the passion that compels you to write, your writing loses its shine.

Over the past year, I’ve been questioning my writing focus. Instead of embracing spontaneity and writing in raw form — dumping thoughts onto the page, an essential step in the creative process — I embraced perfectionism, which doesn’t exist, and mitigates the impact of a word.

If you stop to edit while you write, you drop out of “the zone” and lose your creative edge. Your writing becomes dull.

The other word destroyer, overwriting — not knowing when to stop revising a draft — muddies the qualities that make your writing unique.

If you’re stuck on a sentence, stop revising it and walk away. Let your unconscious mind take the wheel. You will likely find the answer you seek while emptying the dishwasher or performing another mundane task.

Don’t obsess over changing a word you think is too simple. Sometimes a fifth-grade level word is a better choice than a college level word. The simple word expresses the rawness of your feelings during an emotional purge.

Venting your frustrations in rough form is a visceral response to an impulsive emotional thought. You wrote it because it came from the heart. Wrote it for yourself, not for a publisher, or agent or target audience.

Sure, it’s rewarding when your work elicits a positive response from a reader. But, to write for validation or praise shouldn’t be what drives a writer to write.

A writer must be passionate about the process. Enjoy the discovery of words and how they sound when read aloud. It’s the pleasant torture of word wrangling during a revision and knowing when to stop, which comes with experience.

Over the past year, I discovered that I write because I enjoy the writing process — the words, the sounds of vowels and consonants, the joy of creating something out of nothing.

If I allow outside or inside critics to distract or deter me from writing, then shame on me. It’s time to shut out the noise and refocus on the passion. I don’t write for the accolades or validation of others, I write for myself.

Do inside/outside influences distract you from writing?