Writing is a Process

In the back of my mind, for a long time, quietly, a question has lived: Why, for all those years, didn’t you write more?

When I was in Grade 11 I entered one of my short stories in a contest and won a prize. I barely remember the story or what it was about, and I don’t remember the process of writing it. It was very much modeled after a favorite writer of mine; in fact, I’m not sure the voice was really mine at all.

I’ve never had much of a desire to write fiction and I certainly don’t now. I don’t have stories and characters and settings in my head. And, after all, isn’t that what writers do? Weave themselves and their experiences and the things they ponder into stories about other people?

Of course not. Not only that. That’s just one kind of writing.

I know that now, and these days I write a lot. At least in my head, which still counts. Not many of them make it down on paper, but I process my world through words.

rain drops

I spent years not writing because I thought I didn’t have anything to write about. I guess I just had to find my own story. So that’s what I write now. I process things and it helps me and maybe even helps other people a little bit.

And yet at times it feels self-indulgent to write my own story. Self-important. Narcissistic, even. Especially because my story, as I am telling it, isn’t one event. It’s not one bad day or one diagnosis or one revelation.

But then again, no one’s is.

Writers write because they have something to say. And the lesson I’m learning now—for me—is that I can write, and I want to write, and it doesn’t actually matter if anyone reads it.

I will just wait for those times I have something to say, and be grateful for a place to say it.


 

Comments

  1. I feel the same way about writing. Why I didn’t write more when I was younger. How I feel silenced sometimes, even now, because my stories are a) hard to put into words b) I’m not sure it’s one that people would want to read c) realize it doesn’t matter because I still need to write it, at least for me.

    I’m so glad for you that you have a place to write it all down.

  2. It is good to have a place write. I used to write a lot when I was younger and then stopped for many years. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had just kept at it. But like you said, I write in my head sometimes, too – so maybe I was doing that at times during those “lost years,” too?

  3. I couldn’t agree more. We write because we have something to say. Because we have to get it out.
    Yes.
    You’ve said it perfectly.

  4. EXACTLY. All of this, exactly my feeling.

  5. Writing is like breathing to me. Like you, I process my words through words. I’ve written as long as I can remember – diaries, fictional novels (never finished), short stories (sometimes finished), poetry. Now, I just write non-fiction blogs and articles. I wonder where the rest of those stories and poems have gone.

    I’m glad you have a place to write. And I’m here to read it.

  6. I never wrote anything until I started a blog. I never thought of myself as a writer. Writers were people who were better, smarter, more talented than me. It never entered my mind to put the words in my head down on paper. Now I know differently, and I’m so glad that I do. And that you do too.

  7. I feel the same way, especially the part about writing fiction. Weren’t those the only true writers?

    But I think not only do we have things to say, there are also people who want to read it.

  8. Perfect. Each and every word.

    When you’re ready, we will be here.

    xoxo

  9. I can’t think of anything to say but Amen. And love you.

  10. Oh yes, this! Thanks for the reminder that it’s okay to write just to WRITE for ourselves. :)

  11. Our writing needs to flow from us. Whatever is behind our eyes begging to come out needs to be told/written.

    It just does.

    It’s not for us to decide.

    Writers just write.

  12. Yes, yes and yes. You are awesome.

  13. Writing is hard and easy. It’s great that you have a handle on it now because this is beautiful.

  14. Writing is hard and easy. It’s great that you have a handle on it now because this is beautiful. So glad you shared.

  15. I’ve written all my life. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was play “office.” I was writer, editor, publisher, everything. I’d give the books I made to my family member as gifts. They seemed to go over well, so I felt encouraged :) And I definitely modeled them after the stories I was reading at the time. I think that’s how we find our voice–by first imitating others. Thank goodness for blogs. I’m glad you have your place here Robin.

  16. This line resonated with me:

    …”these days I write a lot. At least in my head, which still counts. Not many of them make it down on paper, but I process my world through words.”

    For years I would tell people that I loved to write, but I actually wrote very little. I loved telling stories, though, which I guess was my thing.