I call this space At the End of the Dock.
For the longest time I planned to call it “Writers Write.” I’m thrilled with At the End of the Dock, but it’s important to capture why I liked Writers Write because it speaks to how this all came about.
Yep. Sure they do. It’s easy. It just happens. Yep.
But as any writer, or anyone who has tried to write or had to write knows full well, writers often don’t write. Writers think about writing, they dream about writing, they try to write, and then they rationalize why they didn’t write.
I’ve written all my life…as a journalist telling other people’s stories…as a business person selling, persuading, lobbying, and leading others…and as a friend, offering advice and encouragement. I’ve taught writing – news writing and business writing – at the college level, yet I’ve never taken a writing class of any kind until a year ago. I’ve often thought about writing for myself, writing essays or, God forbid, even fiction. I’ve even wondered if I could even make a few bucks writing.
Writing has always come easily to me. I’ve often felt it was the only true gift or talent I’ve ever possessed. I feel an incredible sense of peace and purpose when I write. My body changes, my mind clears, and I am content.
Despite all the writing I’ve done through the years, I’ve never really written just to write, to create something, to share my thoughts, my ideas, my perspectives on life and the world as I see it, or even to tell a story I simply made up. Like most writers I’ve met, I have a collection of scribbled notes and two paragraph scrawls that some thought or moment or event has generated, and I’ve slowly started turning a few of them into something with shape and substance. I’ve discovered a passion – really a need – to not only write, but to share what I write with others.
The greatest challenge any writer faces is finding the motivation and time to actually finish a piece. I’ve learned that writing requires the ability to ignore everything around you when inspiration hits, and real self-discipline to finish and edit a piece into good form. I struggle with both. I suspect I always will.
The end result of a writer’s work is the response his or her words evokes in others. Most writers are loathe to admit that they crave feedback, yet feedback – positive, negative, or even better, an engaging conversation about a piece — tells a writer their work affected a reader. I crave feedback. So please, as you read my work here, share your reactions with me. When I touch someone through my words, I have succeeded. That alone will inspire me.
During one session of a writing class last fall we had an extended discussion about the constant struggle to find the time and place and energy and support to write. There was no one answer of course. The only conclusion seemed to be that writers should write. Always…somehow…in some way…write. And that they should trust their individual creative process.
One classmate took to sending me emails signed with the phrase “Writers Write.” I would sign my responses the same way. The phrase became a sign of support and understanding and intent between us, and we both tried to write a little bit 3-4 days a week.
The habit of signing things that way has fallen by the wayside, like so many efforts to establish new ways of doing things.
For me, though, the concept of Writers Write has ingrained itself into my thinking, and slowly I have become more consistent in setting aside time to write. Writer’s Write is a statement of what I want to be, and what I want to do. I’m a long way from writing every day, but I’m writing something two or three days a week, and feeling less guilty about doing so.
She has my gratitude for her support and friendship. Now it’s her turn. Write.
Categories: Writing Life
Oh I’ll go out on that limb there with you and admit that I crave feedback as well. 🙂 Though I’ve become more selective as my writing has matured and seek it in different ways. But crave it I do.
And I like At The End Of The Dock much better. There’s rich visual imagery there and questions…perhaps answers too.
A writer can find 1001 ways to creatively avoid the act of writing and make any or all of them sound perfectly reasonable. Oh yes, that rationalization you mentioned. I know it well. But at the end of the day a blank page is still a blank page. There’s no escaping that.
There is also no joy quite like being able to type The End and then breaking out the bubbly. 🙂
I sit and stare out the window and think about the hour that I have spent doing that.
I ponder the hour that I spend at night fighting my children on whether they “really” need to go to bed or not.
I contemplate that extra hour I sleep in the morning because I don’t sleep enough as it is.
I look around at all the things, consider my schedule, and I know, I have absolutely no excuse for not writing, except that I don’t carve that niche into my daily schedule though I once did regularly. There is nothing in the scheme of my day that stops me, short of me.
I guess I should work on that a little more.
As a writer with all of the daydreams, and snippets of paper with thoughts, I can say you have described us all eloquently and with just a little compassion. A little, to encourage us, but not enough to excuse us from sitting in the chair and Writing.