Today’s blog post has been written by G.C.Ramey and when I read it, I was able to relate to every word.
NB: His article is written in American English.
Write for the Sake of Writing
By G.C. Ramey
“Are you ever going to finish writing your book?” my wife asks as she passes by my office, noticing that I am reading Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane for the second time this year.
“I’m hunting for inspiration,” I say, glancing back at her. “I think Neil might have hidden the secret formula in here somewhere.”
I can tell by her face that she is unamused. Her comment had a purpose to it, a purpose that couldn’t have been more obvious if it had been written across the side of airplane and flown directly through our house. Obvious or not I plan to ignore it anyway, but then she says it
plainly, “Stop procrastinating.”
Her remarks are well meaning. When we got married, she decided to take on the arduous task of keeping me straight, and in this case I needed just that. Although her comment was brief, the layer of hidden subtext rolled over me soberly and I knew every word that she had left out but meant to say, “Telling people that you are writing a book is not the same as actually writing one.”
That was the not so subtle kick that I needed.
I love writing. It’s the thing that I enjoy most in the world. The only thing that comes even close to it would be reading, but even then, why would I settle for a world created by the hands of another, when I have the power to create my own?
The idea of creation is powerful and even, at times, magical. Maybe it’s that faint desire to be like God— which would explain the typical bouts with pride that most author’s face from time to time— and maybe it’s just the joy that comes from expressing one’s inner feelings in such a physical and intimate way. Regardless, the appeal to tell stories is nearly synonymous with my identity as a person. It is who I am and what I was born to do. Even so, something strange always seems to happen. My identity has the habit of feeling more like a chore and less like a purpose, but why is that?
While I cannot speak for every writer who faces this, I can speak for myself. My current situation is one where I am constantly feeling the unforgiving push of deadlines. Whether it be from graduate school assignments, freelance jobs, or even just volunteer edits for my friends, I feel as if I am always burdened by the pressure to complete things. The part of my passion that suffers from the vice of procrastination is not professional productivity, but instead, my personal creativity. Because I am constantly meeting these professional obligations, I have forsaken my own projects. Of course, I defend myself by rationalizing that it is simply an act of maintaining proper priorities. I mean, deadlines have to come first, right? And my own creative expression can come with whatever time I have left. Maybe that is good in theory, but the problem is that by the time “leftover time” comes around, I feel so burnt out on the process of writing, that writing is the last thing that I want to do. It’s as if the joy is stripped away from it.
It’s quite a sad place to be. It reminds me of a story I heard a few years ago in college. In a small town, there was a baker who worked tirelessly at his craft to make bread for those in the community. Everyone who came to his bakery left well fed, and although he found joy in feeding
those who came, he began to grow weary because he never stopped and ate for himself. The demand for more bread continued, and the baker pushed onward. Eventually, he died of starvation, surrounded by plenty of food, all because his professional commitment outweighed his personal need.
With this in mind, I suggest something to those writers who have felt similar pressure. The suggestion is simple, write for the sake of writing. Whether it be a poem, a journal entry, a fun review of a book you love, or even that novel you continually put off writing, just do something.
Get back to the joy of writing for yourself. In this way, you can continue feeding the masses, without dying of hunger yourself.
G.C.Ramey is contributor for a sports news source (thespursupshow.com) and contributor for a sci-fi and horror site (alienbee.net). He is a masters student at the university of New Orleans. You can learn more about him by visiting his blog (gcramey.blog) or Twitter (@gcramey).
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