I love a blank piece of paper. I am obsessed with pens. I am magnetized by the feeling of a pen as it glides across that blank page.
I appreciate the culmination of energy and thought on those pages, bound into a perfect, symmetrical book, with its neatly cut edges, the feel of paper pulp and the images it holds through its many words and phrases.
Now, being that person who fills those pages is something different.
I remember my 6th grade English teacher attempting to motivate the class about the magic of writing with this quote: "Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a blank page of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." Thanks for the words of encouragement, Gene Fowler.
What kind of motivation is this?! Thirty years later, it still rings true, but I am still mesmerized, confounded, intimidated and co-dependently engaged with writing.
As soon as I learned the alphabet, I knew I wanted to be a writer, well, whatever that meant. Blessed/cursed with an active imagination, like most kids I suppose, I wrote to escape, to vent, to explore, to be in my own little world. I had an ongoing jouska of creativity and didn't know what to do with it.
Writing was effortless to me then, in journals, stories, scripts - before I knew about structure, grammar, concepts, rules. I still feel like that kid today and recently resigned myself to the fact, I will struggle until I do something about it.
To start writing, one must take a step, or a word. According to Mr. Neil Gaiman, just start: "This is how you do it. You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it‘s done. It's that easy, and that hard."
Or from Ms. Anne Lamott, "Almost all good writing beings with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere."
But the ritual of writing still alludes me so I headed to my bookshelf for inspiration. Those wonderfully bound books which I desperately wish could ease their wisdom, techniques, and verve into my writer brain by osmosis. This is probably a reason why bookstores and libraries fascinate me.
The inspiration this time was reading a book I ashamedly left on my bookshelf too long without reading, “Ink Spots” by one of my favorite writing teachers, Brian McDonald. A collection of posted blogs, Brian wonderfully articulates the process and structure of writing and the simple reason on how we can be our best ally and worst enemy. Practice. Learn from others. Start somewhere. Just write. If you can’t write, then read scripts. Just read.
Funny how something so terrifying complex can be simplified to basic acts.
So, here I am. I am writing for ME, to practice writing on whatever comes to mind, whatever fancies me this week or inspired me last week about writing.
I am not here to entertain or profess any more wisdom or advice. I just want to share my experiences about writing, for the sake of writing, to become a better writer and celebrate the writing process. It is a selfish act for me, and my own writing needs.
And I welcome anyone who wants to come along as I practice accountability through blogging. For me, making it public, lights a fire for myself (first and foremost) and if it does for others, well, awesome!