Aside from partial, half-assed attempts to do NaNoWriMo last year and a myriad of other false-starts littering my documents folder, this semester is the first time I’ve actually ‘completed’ any original fiction. On the other hand, I haven’t written anything in my journal since an obligatory end of summer entry. I’m really proud of myself for finally forcing myself (or allowing myself to be academically motivated) to work on the story part of my world instead of staying in the safe world-building realm again this year, but I’ve definitely been neglecting the more personal aspect of why I write.
I still consider writing in a journal to sort through life a central part of me as a writer, but if that’s the case, with me not having written in it can I still consider myself a writer? Granted, I have still been doing other writing so this is maybe a bit of a melodramatic approach to this blog post. However, I think there’s a lot of truth to the whole “if you aren’t writing, then you aren’t a writer”. I think that’s paraphrasing Stephen King, but I don’t quite remember.
Maybe the “why” has changed? (Either that or I’ve been neglecting myself, but let’s go down this path a bit.)
I think “why” depends on the format of your writing. A lot of Orwell’s reasons seemed more specific to writing novels, though he supplied a few poetic examples as well. Lately, my writing has been primarily academic, with a decent dose of creative flare (thank you Minor). Not to mention this blog. Most academic writing is kind of stressful. There’s so much riding on it. I mean, if you write something to be published, there’s a different sort of classification you’re upheld to with just as much rigor depending on your venue, but grades are kind of important. A lot of academic writing is stressful because it’s for the grade, and yet a lot of times you don’t even get a specific rubric so it masquerades as something more creative than it’s supposed to be. This post may have just gotten a bit off topic with that rant. My apologies.
My creative writing is still fun though. When I was writing my vignettes I really enjoyed the rhythm that occurred. I’d just get going and then keep going until I was finished with what I had to say. I also got way into the revision process–in fact, the bulk of my writing was during the revising process. It gave me a bit more time to reflect, make changes, and reconsider things. A lot of my past writing was done in tandem with revising for the first draft. Now, however, I use the draft to get out my initial thoughts, and then do revising after to form it into something more coherent and relevant. Pretty sure that means I’ve “normalized” my process.