Thursday, August 27, 2009

On Writing

Writing is a funny thing. Some days I sit down and write page after page, none of it any good. So I shove the pen and paper aside in disgust and go downstairs to the computer and engage in some mindless activity. It doesn't matter what the activity is, as long as it requires little mental exertion.

The next day, feeling discouraged and resolving not to waste any more of my time scribbling on pieces of paper, I go into town or do anything that is unrelated to writing. I return home at the end of the day, tired yet refreshed, sit down at my desk, and write. Suddenly the words are flowing as fast as I can write them down and a few hours later I have written a couple of passable blog posts, a poem, or the beginning of a short story.

I don't know how it happens. I don't know where the words come from. Writing is mysterious.

I have read about some writers who can only write in a certain location, at a certain time, or with a certain pen or paper. For myself, I prefer the junkiest paper and pens I can find. This usually means the back of paper that already has writing on the front and cheap ballpoint pens. This way I do not feel guilty about filling page after page and throwing them away right afterwards.

Before I started my first blog, most of the writing I did was for myself. Now, every few days I sit down at the computer, type a few paragraphs, and send them off into the void to be read by potentially anyone in the world who has access to the Internet. It is very mysterious, is it not, that the words I have written at the basement computer, looking out at the garden and trees, are now being read by you, wherever you are?


  1. In my dorm room, looking out at the leftovers of a storm we just had.
    Yes, writing is mysterious. It's like a time capsule. I used to keep a diary, and every once in a while, someone would read it, or I'd let someone see an excerpt, but people always got so upset, and most of the time, the entries were weeks old.
    Which leads me to: I think it, I write it down, and then most of the time I'm over it. Writing is a time capsule, unlike digital text, it can't be erased in an instant, it doesn't disappear if you forget to save it.
    I use good but not too good paper for my writing. I usually get notebooks on sale, and fountain pens that keep my hand from cramping like it used to, but none of it is very expensive in the long run.
    Interesting entry.

  2. Quite honestly, the less I think about writing, the easier it is- but you do have to show up and do it, even if you don't feel like it.

  3. I think I have to agree with you, Biffybeans. Quite often I seem to spend more time worrying about what to write than actually writing!


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