Saturday, December 19, 2009

On Becoming A Writer


As the leader of a writing group, I’m often asked this question “what can I do to be a writer?”

I answer, “write something.”

“No no,” the person persists, “what can I do to be a good writer?”

“Write something good,” I respond.

Some people don’t know when to quit. “What can I do to become a successful writer?”

I rarely answer that question, because the price of success is too high for most people. Success (as most hopefuls define the word) could mean abandoning everything else in life – eating, sleeping, home, relationships – everything. The point of breathing is to write. It’s not just an attitude you wear one day like a coat. It's certainly not a job.

In her blog, My Inflammatory Writ, New York City playwright Kari poignantly expresses her understanding of what that means.

“By fifteen, (I was) a playwright, unleashing the voices in my head and my heart.

At twenty eight, I wonder why I ever thought I could be anything else.

Writing is the way to answer the unanswerable.
My way of praying.

When I know nothing else, I know that I write.

When I forget who I am, writing is my way of remembering.
Of finding my way back.

I can’t be scared of doing the only thing that brings me peace
in a world and a life where peace is impossible.”


Any questions?


jb

2 comments:

Julie M said...

For me, writing is the autopilot response to every 10 scale thing that has happened to me.

Danielle Mari said...

I love the post. And I agree- writing is work; it isn't accidental and isn't really a gift. I always think back to a professor in college who demanded that we spell his course "Playwrighting" instead of "Playwriting." He said to remember that plays are wrought, not merely written.