Self-discoveries in Writing

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. book cover

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.

Emily Post

Mostly books and buildings, with a hefty dose of veggie foods.

2 thoughts to “Self-discoveries in Writing”

  1. Emily,

    I can relate to you in that I have neglected the act of truly considering the reasons why I write up to this point. I have not been intentionally putting off these personal thoughts and contemplations. I have just never never been forced to think so introspectively, and have therefore never stopped to truly consider why I write.

    Clearly everyone has different reasons to write. And with this conversation, I feel you bring up a very interesting point: does the act of writing strictly academic pieces, or pieces done due to obligation, really qualify us as writers? I think they do, but such instances should not be applied to this particular conversation. The true reasons why we write should reflect the modes of writing that bring enjoyment and purpose, aside from assignments. It sounds as though you find this enjoyment from more creative modes of writing. I myself enjoy the process of writing as a way to get my thoughts onto paper, and solidify/refine the thoughts swirling in my head. Thank you for sharing, and I hope you have more time in the coming weeks to once enjoy the process of writing.

  2. Hey Emily,

    a lot of my feelings relating to your proposal came out in Jeremy’s comment above, but let me add a bit of personal touch.

    First, I very much appreciate your style of blogging and I love to hear that your blog has helped (or forced) you to continue to write creatively. Personally, I haven’t found all that much interest in creative, new-worlds-deriving writing but that in no case means I don’t like to read it!

    Next, I think a very critical point that you bring up within your writing, here is that the “why” you write has changed. I love this idea. I think a lot of reasoning that explains ourselves as humans is a fluid concept. Thus, I commend you for realizing that motives behind writing can alter with time, as this is an idea that I had yet to understand or think of myself. In fact, maybe it is good that our ideas evolve over time. It is what makes us as writers document ourselves in our writing as we were at the time of creating a piece.

    Until next time.
    -Caroline

Leave a Reply