Writerly Glimpses

You hear it a lot: “Writing is a solitary experience.” And it is, unless maybe you’re working in collaboration with someone else or are one of those people who like to write amid the hubbub of a nearby Starbuck’s. Most often, however, the words that drop from our fingertips are created within our minds, and are ejected into the quietness of a private writing space.

 

When I’m asked what it’s like to write a novel I’m hard-pressed to find the words that adequately describe the experience. So when I came across Kristen Torres-Toro’s blog about watching last month’s television documentary on J. K. Rowling I was impressed by how she expressed her reaction.

 

Famous authors have a celebrity aura and we seldom see beyond their public image.

 “J.K. Rowling let us see her, not only as a multi-published author,” Kristen says, “but as a writer. As a dreamer. As someone that shares my creative heart.”

 

WritingPlaceI’m not sure why people are so curious about the writing life. There is a mystique surrounding it, as if writers are granted divine revelations and magical abilities not available to non-writers. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe it’s just that writers are more willing to let the world inside their minds, to toss intimate thoughts onto a public plate for consumption. It’s more than writing; it’s willingly splaying the soul regardless of the consequences. Sometimes the effort is invigorating, sometimes it’s painful, but always it’s personal.

 

For a writer,” Kristin continues, “you can’t get any more personal than the act of writing itself, nor the emotions, thoughts, and desires that swirl through us as we fully engage in the craft. It’s us at our most powerful–and sometimes at our weakest…. It’s euphoria and grief and everything in between. It’s intoxicating. And for the most part, it’s completely private.”

 

So, how do you feel about giving the world personal glimpses… putting your innermost feelings on a page for all to see?


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10 thoughts on “Writerly Glimpses

  1. I can be incredibly intimate on a page. In person, though, I am less comfortable, probably because I don’t have the power to rewrite my words as I speak them. Sometimes I think people expect writers to be really, really interesting, and I tend to be rather quiet, neither dramatic or flamboyant in person.

    • Thanks for visiting my blog, Nadine. The anonymity of the printed page is a good mask for some of us. I’m a terrible introvert so I really have to make a special effort in face-to-face encounters.

  2. joylene says:

    That’s why I write fiction. I hide between the words. They’re not mine. They belong to the characters and POV in my stories.

    I have noticed that during the past few encounters as an out & about writer, people are suddenly interested in what I have to say. Whereas I was once ignored (politely), now I appear to be worth talking with. I don’t feel any different though. I’m still that little farm kid from Hammond, BC.

    Wonderful post, Carol. It made me proud to come myself a writer.

    • I like your idea that the words are not really ours but belong to our characters. It’s that concept that allows us to be involved in environments and conversations that in our own lives might otherwise be uncomfortable for us.

  3. vade55 says:

    I have no trouble putting my feelings on paper–but letting others read what I’ve written makes me a nervous wreck.

    Carol

  4. Hi, Carol!

    I just now found your blog reply and clicked over. I’m so honored by this post! Thank you!!!

    This is something I definitely struggle with. I don’t realize just how personal it is until I give someone something I write. Then I want to qualify over and over how that character isn’t really me, how her struggles aren’t mine and her broken heart has nothing to do what’s going on inside of me. But I think that when we are most real the readers see that and connect with it. I think that’s what makes people keep turning the page. It’s enough to make me keep writing. However, I still refuse to admit that all of the deep themes in my stories have anything to do with me… after all, I write fiction for a reason! :0)

    Thanks for coming by to Write in the Way! Hope to see you again sometime! I’ll definitely come by here as well!

    -Kristen

    • Welcome, Kristen! The MC in the first novel I wrote reflects a lot of my personality traits. Because she doesn’t live my lifestyle I didn’t recognize that until I had it critiqued. In later writings I’ve done a better job of creating “new” characters, providing individuality for them. But I agree, writing from our hearts, being truly honest about the thoughts we convey… that’s the only writing that feels authentic to a reader. We have to find ways to be comfortable with that.

  5. Shari says:

    Sending my work out into the world makes me quake in my boots, so to speak, but I do it anyway. 😉

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