Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Wonder

As the recent months have passed, my writing had become strangely silent. After a frenzied period of time where I raced to finish up my edits on The War Horn, it just...stopped. I submitted TWH to the contest, and that was that. (I'm still waiting to hear back from the contest, actually.) Schoolwork came, our move hung over my head, and my keyboard's smolder turned to ashes.

I could claim that my life was busy. I could claim that inspiration had deserted me. I could claim that I procrastinated. (I did, really, but that's not the point.)

Some might call it writer's block, but nothing was really blocking me. I just didn't do anything.

Here's what happened: I lost my drive. No, scratch that. My drive was still there. I still wanted to tell a good, meaningful yarn to the world and glorify my Creator.

But I lost my desire to fulfill my drive and accomplish my goals.

I keep telling myself I needed to write this or write that or torture a character or something. But I never did it. Sure, that's procrastination, but there's a reason behind procrastination as well.

Where was the allure?

Writing had begun to boil down to words and mechanics and editing. And it took this little short story to regain what I had lost.

Hearken back to when you first started writing. Why did you do it? Why would you write a story? What lured you? (Keep in mind, when I say "Why did you do it?" I don't mean, "What drove you?" but "What drew you?")

Maybe it was a desire for fame. Or a desire to create a book like the ones you read all the time. I know that the latter was part of my desire to write.

But here's the thing. There's something about writing that draws us.

I've been pondering it all day long. And yes, in the shower too. It's the Thinking Room, wot.

There is something about a blank sheet of paper. There's something that clicks, something that hums, something utterly amazing that happens when a writer sits down at a computer, pulls up a blank document, and writes.

Anything could happen. And anything will happen.

When I first began writing, I found it utterly engrossing. I had a childlike fascination with it. It was magic, really. You could create, you could make something out of nothing. You could tell a story.

Those words have lost their magic. In this context, the simple words "you could write a story" are amazing. You have the entire world at your fingertips. You could write whole species into existence, whole worlds could be created, and history could be rewritten. You have all of your infinite imagination to fill.

Daniel Schwabauer said, "People read to live vicariously." (i.e. to live through their imagination.) And the same is true for writers.

This, in my opinion, is the allure of writing: we can write to live vicariously. We get to choose what we want to do. We can race against time to save the world, we can fly with dragons across an azure sky.

And so, we write, not only for ourselves, but so that we can share it. We want others to see the glory that we see. And for Christians, we also want others to see the glory in Christ that we see and experience.

And that's why my writing ground to a halt. I lost the allure. So much of my writing had come down to revision and grammar and mechanics that I lost what got me writing in the first place.

That changed, however. I started writing a little story. I've begun so many stories and never finished them, but this one...this one had potential. It had allure.

And then I wrote this section. In that moment, my keyboard lit, my imagination roared to life, and the ultimate lure and desire to write came rushing back.

--

"He wanted to see home before he died," Rodney said, taking in a deep breath and letting it out. "He wanted to see the grasslands and smell the free breeze. He wanted to taste Kanai fruit again. He wanted to see his old house by the creek and the wood."

--

In that little section, I caught a glimpse into my character, and not only that, his homeland. In this little story, I saw a new world. And it took my writing back to life, because now I want to see new worlds again. I want to write new characters and explore new places. The very word "write" takes on new meaning.

Write well, readers. And when you write, don't leave the wonder of writing behind. Keep ahold of it. Don't let it diminish.

--
Jake

11 comments:

Sandy said...

I love this post.

Blank pieces of paper really are magical.

Eldra said...

Excellent post, Sir Jake!!! Exactly what I needed to hear right now. My writing, too, has been suffering of late (plotting for NaNoWriMo can be difficult). Now I'm feeling inspired again. Thank you!!!!

Sandy - I love your profile picture!

The Director said...

Thank you, Jake. I often have to remind myself of what made me first put pen to paper, and it truly helps, and energizes me. You encouraged me to not forget. :)

Charlotte said...

Ditto everything everyone else has said. I actually started writing coz, wel I've always loved it, but also, my imagination is far too active. Truth is, I'm an introvert, and spending time in places that exists only in my head, doesn't help in the real world, so writing is how I free my poor brain, (and also so I actually exist in the real world):)

Christopher said...

Nice post. I do need to find that magic again. Well, thanks for the post anyway.

Eagles Wings said...

O_O

Wow.

That was pure epicnes, Sir Jake.

You have inspired me to start working on my novel.

Hannah Joy said...

I...I'm shocked. That was...incredible. You've got some talent, there Sir Jake. And that little excerpt...you're right. It's...good somehow. Like I see something. Inspiration maybe? Don't ask me.

Writing is a sort of gift, and yet a sort of burden sometimes. I've always found it hard to put God into my tales without making it seem shove-it-down-your-throat-preachy. I've never liked books like that, simply because that wasn't my God. That was some other...less...what's the word...holy? Yes, less holy god. But yet, there's that thing. I live with God in my life (very big in my life) so how can I not put Him into my life....as in my books. It was later that I finally thought of one little teeny bit of dialogue that was so powerful, so mighty, and yet so simple that I was sure it was talking about God.
Um...that was kinda random. Sorry. (OO)

But beautiful post. You almost got me weepy.

Ninja Tim said...

Jake, if the other comments I see above mine are any indicator, you've revived that allure in more than a few other people just now. Lending Inspiration to others is as great a gift, if not greater, than working with him yourself.

Thanks Jake.

Lark said...

Hey Jake! I filled out your GIANT writing tag from Eldra on my blog, thewriteress,blogspot.com. I mostly review children's books, but feel free to check it out, it's finally up and running!
Where've you been? There hasn't been a post for weeks!
Lark <3

Lark said...

Oh yeah-- Loved the post. Makes me wanna scream REVIVAL!!!, you know?? And I've noticed that usually after a time of extreme writing 'dryness' when you finally get back into your writing, it shows. And it's great. I hope your writing flourishes! Mine did.

Jake said...

Indeed, Hannah Joy! I feel the same way. :)

Thank you all for the comments. :) Write well!