Royce Shook

3 years ago · 2 min. reading time · ~10 ·

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Why writers write

Why writers write

Since 2010 when I first took up blogging, I have written over 5, 000 separate posts. Some of my friends ask me why I write. and I find it easy to explain. I am writing to leave my grandson a better picture of who I am, what I care about, what I like and how I approach life. But some find it hard to explain to others why they write. The following from Brain Pickings helped me to answer that question, it may help you as well.

The question of why writers write is a piece of psychological voyeurism and as a beacon of self-conscious hope.

Though many famous writers have notoriously deliberate routines and rituals, Allende's is among the most unusual and rigorous. Ultimately, however, she echoes Chuck Close ("Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work."), Thomas Edison ("Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application."), E. B. White ("A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.") and Tchaikovsky ("A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood."), stressing the importance of work ethic over the proverbial muse:

A necessary antidote to the tortured-genius cultural mythology of the writer, Orlean, like Ray Bradbury, conceives of writing as a source of joy, even when challenging: 

Writing gives me great feelings of pleasure. There’s a marvellous sense of mastery that comes with writing a sentence that sounds exactly as you want it to. It’s like trying to write a song, making tiny tweaks, reading it out loud, shifting things to make it sound a certain way. It’s very physical. I get antsy. I jiggle my feet a lot, get up a lot, tap my fingers on the keyboard, check my e-mail. Sometimes it feels like digging out of a hole, but sometimes it feels like flying. When it’s working and the rhythm’s there, it does feel like magic to me.

She ends with four pieces of wisdom for writers

You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.

You should read as much as possible. That’s the best way to learn how to write.

You have to appreciate the spiritual component of having an opportunity to do something as wondrous as writing. You should be practical and smart and you should have a good agent and you should work really, really hard. But you should also be filled with awe and gratitude about this amazing way to be in the world.

Don’t be ashamed to use the thesaurus. I could spend all day reading Roget’s! There’s nothing better when you’re in a hurry and you need the right word right now.

 

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