Monday, March 28, 2011

Writing is writing.

I don't just write on this blog. Or, rather, you don't see everything I write on this blog.

I write fiction, sometimes just little snippets, the beginnings of stories -- always in hopes they'll turn into something I want to continue. I also write personal diary type entries, and of course, I write about business.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." Samuel Johnson.

I've more or less bought into this notion for the last 25 years. People often tell me to write for my own amusement, but that kind of pain-free writing is maybe half as good as the kind of writing I used to try to do -- toiling over every word and sentence. For the fiction to be worth reading, at least at my skill level, it required more than a creative lark.

It was too freaking hard to do it just "for fun."

"An unexamined life is not worth living," Socrates.

I've also more or less also bought into this notion.

But what if you examine your life through words?

Clear thinking creates clear writing. And clear writing creates clear thinking.

I've been writing a business journal about Pegasus Books, almost from the beginning -- reams and reams of paper, and now 4.5 years of blogs. I suppose I never thought of it as writing, but I think I was wrong about that.

Often, and this happens on this blog as well, I also examine personal issues. There are many, many entries I've written that were either too personal or too revealing to actually post to the world...

Anyway, I now think this kind of journaling , either about work or home, is writing. I'm putting one thought after the other, circling back to a previous thought, finding unnoticed connections, seeing glaring logical errors. The clearer I try to express myself, the clearer my thoughts become.

The other day, I woke from yet another of my "ostracism" dreams, and I sat down to write about it.

When I finished, I felt refreshed, clearheaded. I may not have solved the problem the dreams represent, but I had faced them squarely, written about them straightforwardly, and gathered all the threads and intuitions I've been mulling over for the last few years and put them all down in words.

I suppose in a way, I'm talking to myself. Never thought there was much wrong with that. Writing my thoughts down reveals notions and insights I didn't know I had. I mean, they come out of my head, but I don't remember ever really thinking about them until -- there they are, on paper or screen.

Now that I'm back to fiction writing, I'm realizing that I've been practice writing all these years, after all. The ease and directness that I've tried to maintain in this blog is transferring to my fiction, too. I don't know if it will make it better, but it's making it easier.

Maybe it'll make it easier enough to see through to the end.

1 comment:

H. Bruce Miller said...

"The ease and directness that I've tried to maintain in this blog is transferring to my fiction, too. I don't know if it will make it better, but it's making it easier."

I think it will make it better. It's known as "finding your voice."

My best columns were the ones that felt like they wrote themselves. The ones that took a lot of sweat and toil were never as good.