Over my many years of writing, I’ve noticed changes (obviously) to why I’m writing. Although I admit that writing journal pages,for instance, isn’t something that makes me feel content in writing, I am aware of the catharsis that is found in putting thoughts from the past or the day down in paper.
Even if I dispose of them later on.
Memoir as a category of non-fiction, seems to be huge lately, so I hope that many writers are getting some workings of themselves from that writing. But is it a case that all of us write because of a need to put into words some memory or hurt, or life learning, to share that with others, or perhaps to put things right?
Is that a motivator or calling for writing?
Jeff Vandermeer – Wonderbook
In Jeff Vandermeer’s must-have Wonderbook – the Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, the topic of why we write is covered from a different perspective. Vandermeer’s says that certain traits or key attributes support our imagination. These are:- curiosity, receptivity, passion and immediacy.
The author suggests:
“These qualities do not exist in a vacuum. They are tempered, or given form and purpose by other elements, foremost among them discipline and endurance.”
But what I found the most interesting in this section of Wonderbook was the next subsection entitled ‘The Scar or the Splinter’ – different names for the same element, explained as another influence on creative behaviour ( why we write). While Vandermeer maintains that the other attributes come out of joy and openness, he also strongly believes that each creative has a scar or less harshly, a splinter in their past that is one of the causes of their creative behaviour.
“The Scar or Splinter is often the memory of a loss, a disappointment, a perceived great wrong that continues to create an agitation, an irritation, or at times an agony. In retreating to the Scar, it is only natural that the writer experiences emotions of sadness, regret, and loneliness–all of which feed into the writing. Negative emotions are also a key part of what inspires and drives most writers to write.”
Whether you agree with this or not, and whether you accept the lonely artist paradigm, it’s an interesting aspect to consider when tallying our own inputs in what creates our own need to create.
This post was the fourth in a 7 post series running from this Wednesday to the next. You can find the index post for all from the series here.
Last week I quoted from Steven Pressfield, Larry Brooks and Jeff Goins over writing callings. Tomorrow I controversially dispute what we mean by calling, and on Wednesday I wind up the series with the discovery of what makes me tick writing wise.