Thoughts on Writing

I’ve heard some writers say that they hate to write. I don’t believe them. Maybe they hate to rewrite; I can understand that. But I can’t imagine why anyone would do this if they truly hate it. The closest I come to that is when I hate what I’ve written–that’s actually a common experience for me. But that doesn’t negate the pleasure I get from putting the words down in the first place. It’s just that they don’t always work out the way I’d like for them to.

My doctor recently told me that I should do something for myself at least once a week. What he doesn’t realize is that I do that every time I sit down to write. I agree that it’s good to do something different every once in a while or else your writing becomes sterile. You need to feed your mind. Of course, I do that every time I read a book about something I never knew that much about before. I’m so busy writing and reading, I rarely find time to go outside the house. I worry that I’m becoming a recluse. But I’m happy in my little world. So why should I have to change what I do and the way I do it?

I could make some improvements, however. I read a lot of non-fiction, but the fiction I read is usually genre stuff. I’m especially drawn to books about serial killers (I know, I’m sick). But I can’t imagine writing one, even though I’ve often heard the advice that you should write what you like to read. Perhaps the reverse is also true: you should read what you like to write. I have trouble making myself read the classics and literary giants. That could be an indicator that I’m not meant to write like those authors. (As if I could.)

What I really like to write are essays. Which is a pity, because essays are as hard to sell as poetry, in my opinion. And I do read a fair amount of essays. I love essay collections. I fell in love with essays years ago when I read Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. And I also love memoirs, which are really book-length personal essays. I should probably write a memoir some day. One reason I have trouble writing anything other than essays is because I keep trying to interject my life experiences into what I write. So maybe I need to get that all out at one time and get it over with. But can you ever exhaust your life experiences as material?

Maybe I’m destined to write about myself and my opinions for the rest of my life. I’m not sure how I feel about that prospect. I keep thinking that I should be able to write all kinds of writing (see my post “A Real Writer?”). But then I keep writing the same old thing. I don’t know why I disparage my efforts. What’s wrong with striving to excel at essays? If that’s what keeps coming out of my mind, who am I to question it?

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