Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Master the creation of universes? No problem. Put them into a book...ummm...

The first challenge of being a writer is writing.

Writing is hard.

Technically, it is easy. By the time we are five we are happily scrawling our own name with any writing implement we are allowed to get our hands on, on whatever big white space we decide needs to be filled--like walls. I never could figure out why my mother didn't believe me when I tried to blame that on my infant sister.

If any 5 year old with access to crayons and wall space can write, why is it so hard?

It begins with honing basic skills. We have to learn the difference between a 5 and an S and then we have to build our vocabulary, and then we have to learn how to use all the squiggles that punctuate our sentences. Damn those squiggles!

"This is your brain on writing."
(credit: Illustris)
Then we start to dream, start to imagine. What would a story be like if we were in control? Imaginary friends, fantasy worlds, and an ability to concoct different scenarios in our minds eye. We don't have brains, we have receptacles for an endless sea of parallel universes. This starts out as such innocent fun, but it is the essence of what makes writers anxious creatures. (How many times have you stumbled on the stairs, but regained your footing, only to have an entire scenario play out in your mind's eye where you actually fell and broke your neck and then laid there for days because nobody would miss you right away?)

Then we have to learn the art of storytelling. Some of this comes instinctually after years of reading and reading and reading. We suck up the raw materials by osmosis. And then we forge them into a mighty skill with workshops, lessons, books on craft, and endless critique sessions.

And while all that is going on we are also absorbing all the lessons of our life experiences that will take each universe in our head from a swirling mass of nebulae and temper them into organized solar systems.

Basically, the road to being a writer is the road to being able to spawn fully functioning universes independant from the limits of our imaginations on command. Sounds vaguely divine, eh? Like writers might be the gods of multiple universes? Hey, you said it not me.

So now here we are. We have travelled the long road of deification. And for all our supreme powers we face a final and sometimes impossible challenge of writing it all down, editing it and turning it into a book.

Discipline over procrastination.

It's frickin' hard!

©2016 Amanda June Hagarty

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