Oh Writing, Why Can’t I Quit You?

By April 21, 2014Writing about Writing

She’s a cruel mistress, writing. At the risk of sounding heteronormitave, I feel I can only express my relationship with writing in a way that personifies the creative outlet as an abusive spouse. Writing can be elusive, it can be unpredictable, and it is always (when done correctly) intensely difficult.

Since anyone who writes anything is a writer, I know a lot of writers. Especially at the UCWbL, some folks’ preferred mode of expression can make its way into conversations rather frequently. I hear all of the time how one of my co-workers loves to write, or how another student in the English department has an undying passion for writing.

I don’t exactly agree. I definitely hate writing, because I don’t feel that I do it by choice. I have been rudely kept up all night until dawn by the urge to put my thoughts into words with no consideration for the other work I have to finish before 8 a.m. the next morning. If called by the spirit of creative writing, I will have no choice but to drop whatever I am doing and write.

If inspiration strikes as I walk home during a snowstorm, writing will not wait for me to get to the safety and comfort of my 71 degree heated apartment. My phone will have a pre-write of a poem in it before I make it down the block, and my cold exposed digits will suffer accordingly. Creative writing is demanding, and rarely cares about how appropriate its arrival might be.

If I am going through any form or variety of struggle, whether it be emotional or external, writing takes over and tells me how I am going to respond. I don’t get a say in the matter. She is the only voice that gets heard.

I do not write because I love to do so, I write because I must.

The act of transcribing one’s thoughts onto a page doesn’t have to be a formal exercise in expression or analysis. Some of what I write is really, really, objectively bad. The margins of the notes I take in class are always loaded with unfinished thoughts that are better left as they are, without open distribution to the general public.

The purpose of writing is not to be read, though that is the ideal outcome. Writing has no purpose other than to fulfill it’s own whims and creative urges. Whenever I feel compelled to write something creative, I lose control of the situation. By throwing my hands up and surrendering to whatever higher authority decided that I should feel so urgently that I ought to write, I can begin to express myself at the simplest and purest level. And that’s the way it has always been.

So maybe writing is a little insensitive. Maybe it is too aggressive, or too impolite. But at the end of the day, I have to write, because the alternative is impossible. To love writing is worth the trouble, but she certainly is trouble.