Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Writing. Well...

My friend David sent me a piece of his writing today. I always welcome good writing from a good writer and good friend, but I was especially happy because he had written about his approaches to writing, a window into the private world of his writing process. And me, I love the processes of writing.

Yes, love. I don't throw that word around loosely. I love my wife and children, my dog, the arc of a basketball over the fingertips of my opponent, the rhythm of breathing and slap of my feet on the pavement when I run. My cats I like, but don't love and the same is true for television shows, cars and computers. But writing, for me, is love.

David is organized enough to write of three edges, a phrase I enjoy without fully understanding. I'm more free-flow and these words were typed in one fast burst as I sat on the front steps with the dog, a glass of seltzer, and some jazz. Saying what writing is to me, that's a daunting task and so, rather than give myself time to be daunted, I type fast and don't stop. The keys to my writing seem to be these: write, keep going, don't think, and figure out what it is later. 

Writing is an intellectual activity for me more than an emotional one. Words are the stuff of intellect and so that's where I stay, thinking at the page, talking with it, listening to it echo what I've said. The writing provides me with new ideas. The keyboard is a generator and I just keep cranking on it hoping to create energy.

I've done a few things that have served me as a writer. I learned how to type fast enough to get thoughts down before I can think. That allows me to do the next thing: write a lot. It hardly matters what I write so long as I'm writing. It's the equivalent to taking 300 jump shots each day. Make or miss, I become a better shooter just by shooting a lot.

Those things are good, but the essential thing is that I want to be a writer.

Wanting to write is where it all begins. Once I had that, really had it, then the rest came easier. Revision is a snap because I want to write. Editing is fun because I want to write. The want isn't everything, but without the wanting there is nothing.

I sound like a damn preacher. "I have seen the writing light!" Give me a break.

But I can't worry about how I sound right now. I can't worry that I began this paragraph with a conjunction and that it's the second sentence in this piece in which I've done so. I need to press on. I've set a goal of 750 words about my writing and that's all there is to that.

I've left aside the question why do you write? because that's an emotional thing and I struggle there. I could say that I need to write, that I can't imagine not writing, and that I love writing, but none of that really speaks to the question. The best I can think of is this:

I write because I'm a writer and I'm a writer because I write. 

I write because I do. I can't get enough of it. Writing opens me up. I'm pretty sure that it's my one ticket toward wisdom. That's a trip I'm just dying to take. So I write on.