Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What makes us write?

Just as with any art form, some of us feel a compulsion to write, whether it be  articles, poetry, short stories or novels.   But also as with any other art form, it does the beg question why do we do it?

Is it our wish to interpret?  We could interpret a scene by writing a poem or an article about it, or painting it, or writing a piece of music inspired by it.  The result is the same.   We end up with our interpretation of what we are seeing in front of us.

Then comes the question - what to do with it.   The composer will hopefully find musicians who might play it for him - at whatever level it merits.   The painter may have his painting framed and hang it on his wall, or if he feels it is good enough, put it in a gallery and hope to sell it.  What of the writer?

I used to sell quite a few articles to various magazines - Educational ones, County Ones (e.g. Lincolnshire Life), The Lady.   It used to be a chore parcelling them up and sending them off.   Maybe these days with computers there is an easier way.   But I no longer do this.   I do, however, get pleasure from writing.

The very nature of the creative process is to share it I think?  I would be interested to see if you agree.  Luckily there are other ways to share written work without the chore of trying to get it published.   One is through blogging - after all your writing gets to a good, wide (and critical) audience.   Another is to join in a Writers' Group.

Our Writers' Group met this morning and although it was the AGM we did also find time to all read out our Open Manuscript pieces and to have brief discussions on them afterwards.  The whole process keeps you on your toes and makes you write.

In Blogland the standard of writing varies greatly and one cannot help but gravitate to a style one admires.   To this end I never miss Pamela (Pamela Terry and Edward) whose lyrical style is exceptional;  I also go to Tom Stephenson every day because he writes in such an amusing way that he always makes me laugh; and John (Going Gently) has such a wealth of stories about the Welsh village where he lives that one almost feels one knows the characters (a bit like a Welsh Archers).   Others, too numerous to mention give me a lot of pleasure.   Their writing certainly gets out into the world, literally, and in my view that is exactly what the creative process of writing should do.   Do you agree?  


Em Parkinson said...

I do! I don't know of the two other than John but will go and have a look. I know I have no talent for it but, whether you do or don't, I think it's an important outlet that we are losing in the face of incessant texting and abbreviation. I used to write the staff panto at the theatre I used to work at many years ago, and that would satisfy my urge once a year. Now, the blog does the same job if on a smaller scale more regularly.

I love reading you and always get to the end. I have to confess to skimming others sometimes if in a rush. I feel terrible now!

Elizabeth said...

Yes, I find blogging a wonderful way to have a small audience for whatever I've seen or want to record. The good thing about blogs is that no one has to read them --all free choice --and so you get to know whose style and ideas appeal.
I used to write art criticism for a regional newspaper Newsday, on Long Island. It was always a bit of a nightmare having to go to the exhibitions and write them up in my 'spare time' from teaching.
As to why we write --gosh --I suppose it's a bit like why do we read? I go with EM Forster's 'only connect'...
a good way of forming some sort of community --and we must love words too.
ps Back in NY very jet-lagged and with a terrible cold.....and a billion photos of Morocco!

Gwil W said...

Writing my blog is a way to self discovery. It's a way of getting inside myself. And to tell the truth it beats lying on some doctor's expensive couch and baring my soul. That shrink is probably twice as crazy as me anyway. Since I started I've posted over 1250 pages of nonsense and saved 125,000 in psychiatrist bills! Great therapy, eh?

Heather said...

I enjoy your blog for news on your local weather, your beautiful descriptions of the Yorkshire countryside, the titbits on farm life and all the other little gems.
I think the most important aspect of any art form is that one does it because one enjoys it, and perhaps feels compelled to do it.
If someone enjoys reading a story, article or poem, that is a reward for the writer, and the icing on the cake is when an editor buys the piece. It is surely the same for painters, sculptors, textile artists and any others.

Country Gal said...

I used to write poetry in high school and my English teacher wanted to put my poems in print in a book I didn't think they were worthy enough for a book so I said no ! I have been writing in a journal since I was 13 , I find writing or more so now typing very therapeutic and I love to share what goes on in our neck of the woods , hence blogging ! I like blogging cause I can visit the world in the comfort of my own home and see and learn so much and connect with wonderful people ! Have a good day !

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I love to write - and love to read what other people have written. I like country life and stories.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I agree, writing is all about sharing, at least on one level. I think there's a different type of writing that is about sorting out your own thoughts and maybe a bit of therapy, and that's not always good for sharing

angryparsnip said...

I want to draw, paint or photograph. The brush filled with paint feels wonderful in my hand when I put it on paper. The inks and pencils smell right the paper feels interesting.
The idea or vision of what I see and put down on the paper is part of my life at that moment. It is what I see and the "want" to record.
When I write my haiku they make me think of where I am at the moment.

I love reading your blog and it is usually the first I read.

cheers, parsnip

John Going Gently said...

Your blog grounds me for the day x

Joanne Noragon said...

I think we write to explain, to expostulate, to discover, to pursue. I took up blogging to put down history for my children. And that's quite edifying.

Angie said...

I totally agree with your sentiment.
I love to blog and sometimes I enjoy what I write ...other times I am just keeping a record of my life and my family ...or a recipe that works. Most of all I blog not just for myself but in the hope others will read and enjoy...I have a need to share. Some enjoy my Family History blog but deep down I so wish I could write... I know I cant so blogging will just fill my need to tell a story. No matter what sort of creativity one partakes in, it is a way to make a mark and keep a record of ones passion, that someone else one day, might enjoy too.
I love your blog and sharing your life.

A said...

I actually think about this a lot! It makes me feel a little bad that I just stick to photos and keep all of my writing in the dark, under lock and key far from the public.

MorningAJ said...

Of course I write for a living. So it's important to know that people read my work. (I'm promoting a charity, after all.)

Oddly, I don't really mind whether my other stuff (fiction/blogs/poetry) is read by anyone else. It's nice if I get views and comments, but I really do it because I have to. It's a habit I can't break.

Dave King said...

I guess we write to connect, and so if one other person receives something positive, the writing is justified.

A really fascinating post to set us all thinking or re-thinking.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Some really interesting replies that give us all a lot of food for talk. Gwilym uses writing in a therapeutic way - perhaps we all do to some extent, so maybe we have all saved a fortune in doctor's bills!
Thanks for calling.

Rachel Phillips said...

However, sometimes one feels one is gate-crashing a private party.