Approximately a year ago I began feverishly reading blog posts, articles, and books about writing. I had been reading them before but not with the conviction that I procured last spring.
During that summer I felt I was gaining knowledge about the craft and how to work better through the writing process. I was reading such blogs as Bane of Your Resistance, Today’s Author, WordDreams, and A Writer’s Path. [There were others too but they’re too numerous to count.] I was reading articles at Grammarly and Writer’s Digest taking notes along the way. Amazon was seeing me regularly at their site buying how-to books on the subject.
Conspicuously, I didn’t have any confidence in my ability to write. For that matter, it’s still rather shaky. The whole point of reading all the blogs posts, articles, and books was so I could write without having to stop to look up anything about the craft and feel some pleasure in the actual act of writing. Although I feel I have learned a thing or two, I believe I came away with all that reading with a dilapidated sense of self-worth.
I remember as a teenager I was enthralled watching the words appear before me as I typed on the electric typewriter. I’d be fascinated by how weaving the words together created passages I thought anyone would want to read. Somewhere in between those years and present day I had lost the luster I once saw in the written words. I wanted that shimmer back. I thought studying diligently would make my skill come to life again. It seemed reasonable that knowing what to write and how to write it would make the words on the page glisten and flow with ease.
While trying to enhance my writing skills, the blog posts, articles, and books kept coming at me. I’m ashamed to say that all of that information had me feeling undone after a while. If I really tried to absorb all that I was reading, I’d get befuddled. So much of it was aimed at specific ways a writer could approach the writing process. Not everyone is a plotter. Not all writers are pantsers. Some writers attack scenes randomly while others like to follow the chronological order. I know some who prefer not writing at home, taking their laptop to an eatery, the library, or maybe even to the park. I like writing at home in complete silence. Yet, from what I’ve read these past months, it’s being suggested that I write in one of the diners in this small town I currently call my own. The reasoning behind all of the advice is good. It all makes sense to me but it had me going in several directions at once. To say the less, I was getting a little dazed by all of it.
A couple of weeks ago I came across a blog post [I can’t remember which one now] that discussed the joy of writing just to write. I realized about a third of the way through the piece I had been leaving my muse behind. My imagination was sitting outside the door waiting for me to let her in. I was finally conscious of the issue of I can’t write anything even halfway decent without my creativity being in full swing.
In other words, I had put limits on my writing by putting the rules and advice first instead of using this information as just a guide. Writing is an art, which requires imagination and emotion. I had put that knowledge on a shelf someplace never bringing it down to inspire me. That is until of late.
Have you ever got too caught up in the knowledge so you couldn’t see what was important?
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
― George Bernard Shaw