Writing is a craft, a tool that has helped us translate the human soul and communicate with one another since the beginning of time. Writing itself is such an important gift that we need to embrace and practice daily, for our own sakes. What if the world never had the means to write? What if we could only communicate through the mouth. What words would be lost in mid-air as we spoke? That’s terrifying to think about. The truth and lies would interlace and fight for dominance. With writing, we are given a surface to record and validate the truth, or cement lies even deeper into our consciousness. Writing is a mold that can be used for good or evil.
Whenever you think of it that way, it makes the stakes even higher. There’s a sense of adventure, peril, and moral responsibility for the people around us. I know that whenever I begin to write, my soul spills onto the page, and it’s like a bleed that never stops. The words I have harbored in my heart is fleshed out and made more real. Once I get to the core of what I’m experiencing before and during my writing, there is no stopping. By the time I am finished, I am drained yet empowered. It is a cathartic experience that my heart and soul needs daily. However, I do not always write daily. If anything, I avoid it because I know how drained I will be, and how the muscles in my hand will be screaming, “Why did you do this to us?! You know that keyboards exist, right?”
“I know, but it seems more old-fashioned and more dramatic when I physically write it out on a page,” my inner dialogue replies with a fiendish smile as I write by lamplight.
I believe that we often feel that we have to stage an atmosphere that will bring our creative juices to a boil. Because that’s only when our creativity and our words are threaded into existence, right? It is ridiculous to even dare think that we can write at any time, at any place, in any mind space? We have this image of ourselves where we are time-travelers, and we are writing table side in a cafe with Ernest Hemingway, or walking alongside with C.S. Lewis and his infamous walks that sparks the deepest conversations and ideas. I admit that I am guilty of romanticizing what I think it should be like every time I write. On the contrary, writing, whether it be based on emotions or from a literary, clinical point of view, it can be ugly and it can be messy.
Have you ever had days where you have ended a writing session, where you are just swelling with pride, and are so excited to read and unfurl what you have written? But as you are peeling through the pages, it reeks with disorderliness and you feel like a child recklessly wrote it? You feel what I’m saying? Yeah, me too. I felt that blow, and I’m the one that dealt the blow. But you know what? It’s actually in the mess that you have actually laid the foundation and fleshed out the beginning of the life of your idea, whether it be a blog post, short story, novel or film script, to name a few.
I once read somewhere that your first draft is telling yourself the story. With this kind of frame of mind, I want to think of this as writing unapologetically, knowing you are going to make mistakes; it’s a given. Once you have written your first draft, remember what it exactly is: a first draft. Don’t expect that what you’ve written is Nobel Peace Prize material or start drafting your Academy Awards Speech for “Best Original Screenplay.” You have to work toward the good, earn the good, by being open to the possibility of altering your story, so it can achieve the greatest possible potential. I took a painting class in college, and my professor once told me, “You know you are a real artist whenever you can destroy your work and start over, and end up creating something even better than the last.”
When I was growing up, I felt that the more flowery language and elaborate vocabulary I used, the better my writing was. But I was hit with reality harder and harder as I’ve gotten older. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to express myself through such flowery language because I believe at that instant or circumstance, that is the best word that understands what I’m saying. Human language is beautiful, and it deserves our respect in how we use it.
I have been working on my writing voice for the good part of my life. If I had to describe my voice as a person, she would be best described as a “ Storyteller with a curious appetite for why we’re here, and to translate the human mind, heart, and experience, with the intention to heal.” One quote I have taken to heart is one from the critically acclaimed author, Stephen King: “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up your vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little ashamed of your short ones.”
As you include writing more and more into your daily diet for your soul, you will begin to give your writing a character, a voice. It could be a voice that mirrors you, or it can become the voice you’ve always wanted to have, but you were scared to even utter. And what is one of the key things of this “writing diet”? Life experiences.
I have mentioned in previous blog posts that life experience is what brings us all together. Despite the differences in our life paths, the themes of life appear in all of our lives, themes of Joy, Despair, Life, Death, Triumph, Devastation, Hope, and countless more. When we begin the journey to make our voices bolder, we are placing ourselves in the middle of innumerable life paths whenever we share with the world. God gave you this gift. May He stir your heart to pursue the craft of writing, and may it minister to you as He speaks to you, and minister to people that you may only indirectly meet through a screen or paper as they read the voice of you.