Yesterday, I read an article about how to become a better writer.
And as someone who thinks a lot about writing and reads a lot of other peoples’ writing, the advice is good.
It’s just that it stepped on my toes a little bit.
I like to write. I used to write stories and poems and short stories. But these days, I hardly take the time to sit down and write because writing is work. It’s hard. It’s discipline. It’s writing that first draft because you have to, even knowing that it’s bad. It takes time, something I’ve been a little short on lately.
Point #3 said:
Write—This may seem like I’m trying to be funny. (“Oh, so he’s repeating the first one for emphasis. That old gag.”) That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. After you’ve read an old, stirring work of art (see #2, above), I bet you a Barnes & Noble gift card you’ll be in the mood to write. When that mood arises, latch on and don’t let go, because the mood will be gone before you can say “Facebook status”.
I read that piece of advice and thought, “You know, that’s true.” A few days earlier I’d felt the urge to write a thought down, the desire to just sit and write creatively, and I’d pushed it aside, saying, “I’ll do that when I get home. I won’t forget this. I’ll still feel like doing it later.”
Needless to say, that never happened. By the time I had time to write, the urge had passed.
Then, last night, I went to hear some music with some friends. It was just so good. The songs, the skill, the singers, the people who were there enjoying the music. It was weird to be in this room full of people there because they loved these songs and these performers and feel like at least on some level you knew and understood them. We all had a commonality and the whole night was just so beautiful.
As we were driving home, I realized “it” had happened: I’d experienced a work of art and the urge to write was there.
So when I got home, I sat in my bed at 11:30 p.m., scribbling in a journal, words, phrases, descriptions of a character’s thoughts that were running through my brain. I’m not sure they make sense, and I knew I wasn’t getting my point across as well as I wanted, but I was writing. I didn’t edit, think too hard, or worry that I was repeating myself or spelling things correctly. I just wrote.
I don’t know what will become of that little snippet of writing hidden away in that journal where I usually record prayers and Bible study. It may be truly terrible; I haven’t read over it in its entirity, much less in the light of day. But I wrote. I didn’t ignore that flame of the creative that sprang up in my heart like I have so often.
So, we’ll see where it goes. Maybe I can finally finish that story I started months ago. . . .