After reading Phoebe Quinn’s post at A Writing Path, I began to question how much effort I’m really putting into my writing. Her article wasn’t about effort, but somehow it triggered those types of thoughts in me. Do I give it my all?
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying I’ve been expecting great achievement with little effort. To be truthful, I’d be wondering what the point is of writing at all if it didn’t require that intense concentration and passion that puts me in a time warp feeling as thought I’ve been in outer space when I come to.
I’m questioning how I keep on wanting to rush through some of the writing. When I was younger, I used to love to do descriptions. It could be a regular object like a teacup, a person walking down the street, or an entire setting like a park. It seemed to come to me naturally. Anymore though, I rush straight through those parts getting to action and the feelings of the characters.
Why am I in such a hurry? True, I am not young anymore. In fact, I’ve been deemed a senior for a while now. Even so, unless I find myself getting blown up, I don’t think I’ll be dying anytime soon. This means there’s plenty of time for me to cultivate splendid descriptions of the scenes as I go through them one by one.
And when did I lose that natural touch for writing descriptions? While sitting at my desk, I can see out a window by turning my head slightly to the left. It’s a view of the street I live on so even though some things don’t change often, other things do. I look out this window every time I need a moment to think. And my mind isn’t so full that I don’t see what is out there either. I notice the breeze blowing the leaves in the trees. I see Jake [one of the residential cats] lumber across the street. The sound of a car will make me glance out to see if it’s one of the neighbors. Now, why am I not putting any of this into my writing?
It got me wondering if I’ve gotten stuck on the mechanics of writing. Rationally, I know I can write my first draft any old way I want. However, emotionally, my obsession for perfection and my fear of never ever being good enough plays havoc with me, making me doubt the adverbs I put at the end of sentences, the spelling of words I know but invariably spell wrong, the number of sentences I start with a prepositional phrase. And the list is a long one.
Is there a way to turn off the doubts and fears, but still keep the emotions going full blast while I write? No, I’m not expecting an answer to materialize. Sometimes though, it’s sensible to put these types of questions out there to examine and ponder on.
“It was one of those cases where you approve the broad, general principle of an idea but can’t help being in a bit of a twitter at the prospect of putting it into practical effect. I explained this to Jeeves, and he said much the same thing had bothered Hamlet.” ― P.G. Wodehouse,