Friday, 19 August 2011

Why Write?

It's been a rather uneventful August.

I've just finished my third week of the Semester. This time around, I am doing three history units rather than two literature and only ONE history. This means it is the first semester that I haven't had around ten novels to read and report on. It also means it is the only semester where I have been surrounded soully by academic writing.

For me, this is somewhat overwhelming.

However, after a bit of grumbling (read: a lot of grumbling...) I have decided to use this to my advantage. I have decided not to just LIKE being a history major, but to LOVE it.

The three units I am doing this semester are all very different. One is about power; it is about the fall of various regimes and rulers, and is organised down thematic lines. One is about Twentieth Century America but it uses Hollywood films as a way to make it a little more fun. Today we watched Birth of a Nation. This is actually about the opposite of my definition of fun, but we'll let it slide just this once.

Another requires me to be a detective and 'solve' Historical Mysteries. We've just covered the Franklin Expedition, which has actually given me an idea for a story that I am rather excited about.

But all that doesn't really leave a lot of time for writing. Each week I have to do a lot of reading, and true to nerd form, I also take notes and answer study guide questions. THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID I ANSWER THEM. Luckily, I am a member of a very supportive writing group. But lately, since around about July the 31st, I have had rather crippling writers' block. (Or is it writer's... i can never work that one out.)

There are a number of possible causes.

1) I have burnt myself out like a lightglobe. Peaked too young. I will now descend into hack-dom.

2) History lessons have sapped my creativity.

3) There are no good ideas left in the world, or good sentence combinations that haven't already been used.

4) I am full of hot air and spend more time talking about writing than doing it. (Likely, I fear)

5) I never had any talent in the first place and a lot of people have lied to me.

6) I am so nervous about hearing back from a particular publication that stated that if I hadn't heard by Aug 31, I am not in, that I can't bear to try another piece or my little heart will break.


7) I have started writing for the wrong reasons.

I think it's probably a combination of all those reasons. Sad face.

So for now, I have decided to take some time to reflect on the process of writing, and why I love it. I am going to write some really bad fanfiction style stuff in my journal. I am going to take barefoot strolls on the lawn. I am going to read, read, read. And hopefully, I am going to cure myself. I don't want to be the kind of writer Proust was, rolling on the floor in agony because he couldn't think of a good synonym for nostalgia or something like that.

Most of all, I need to remember that I love to write. Writing has been the way that I have taught myself to be my own best friend. It's also been the way that I have taught myself to look at others. And it's important to me. I told a lot of people (tearfully) that I was going to quit this month and to those people, I would like to say thank you for your patience, and for not letting me give up. I also want to thank my Mum for her PERSPECTIVE, which she is never short of.

It's time to rest. But you'll hear from me again soon.

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