||[Aug. 3rd, 2008|10:01 pm]
What has changed for me with writing?
In tenth grade, I’d sit near the front of the room in Chemistry class and just write while the teacher lectured. I constructed stories, created characters, had conversations with them. Wisp and Darius and others… Arcadia… they weren’t well-rounded, but I loved them anyway. I wrote fanfiction back then, though I didn’t know that was what I was writing, but I also wrote plenty of original. The School… I wrote that almost every morning. I’d bring what I’d written into school that day and hand it around to my friends. I got quite a bit of praise for it, but looking back now, it’s only 30,000 words and not well-written. Too much dialogue, for one. At that time, I hadn’t met a block of description that I liked. That’s something that I still struggle with today.
I don’t understand what changed. I struggle so much now. The words I write are ash on my tongue, tasteless and dry. It’s not exciting. I’m not dragged from word to word, wondering what’s going to happen next, wanting to share this brilliant turn of phrase with my readers, savoring the twists and turns in plot. My characters don’t fascinate me. I hardly know who they are. Did I ever? Or was putting words on paper without a thought to the future what I loved about writing? Has learning grammar, plot, and characterization killed my joy for the process? I suppose what I write now is ‘better’, but how can it engage the reader when I don’t feel anything? How can I evoke joy when I don’t feel it myself? If the readers feel what I felt when I wrote it, the only thing they’re going to get is pain and frustration.
Part of it, I think, is that I over-think writing. When a character pops into my head, they’re always too stereotypical for me. I’m always asking myself ‘why is the quiet character a girl? Why is the active character a boy?’ I want to be different, to be special, to write something that’s not like what everyone else has written. But in trying to force that, am I killing my own creativity? Would it be better to just take what my imagination has offered and run with it?
I fear that I have to choose between becoming a better writer technically and producing emotionally dead work, or throwing caution to the wind and producing unpolished, unpolishable, flights of fantasy. I know that’s unreasonable: I’m sure there are published authors out there who love what they do. Even if they don’t love every second of it, on average, they like it more than not. But I’m afraid I can’t be one of them.
Well, there. It’s not brilliant, and it’s not fiction, but I wrote something.