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                          Thoughts on Writing
In which the Author discusses the frustrating habits of Ideas.

Most writers will tell you that they write for the love of writing, for the joy of their craft, for those few brief moments when the words fall into place with such a glorious and undeniable rightness that it becomes less like writing and more like flying. As loathe as I am to call myself a writer, the same is true for me. However, joy and love are not the main motivation behind my writing.
Everything I write is born from an idea, often tiny and insignificant-seeming, which manages to become lodged in my head like the much-overworked oyster-dirt-pearl metaphor. I seem to receive these ideas at random, and no amount of hard thought ever seems to produce new ones: indeed, thinking on them too hard often seems to offend them, drive them away, as though they can sense the aura of desperation behind such thoughts and it disgusts them. So, ideas come not through thinking but randomly and usually unexpectedly: in the past they have arrived via late-night television programs on religious paintings of the 1500s, while hungrily poring over glass-fronted drawers filled with butterflies, while trying to decipher the flash-patterns of a nightclub strobe light. Thus, Ideas (and I suppose they deserve capitalization) arrive and gain purchase in my brain, like so much oyster-dirt.
Where I seem to differ from most who put words on paper (and how old-fashioned that sounds!) is that while I do genuinely love writing, what spurs me on most is sheer irritation. The Idea gets stuck. It itches, it tickles, it won’t give me a moment’s peace until I grab hold of it, beat it around the head for a while and slam it down onto the page in a manoeuvre that Hulk Hogan would be proud of. Of course, it’s rarely that easy. Each Idea has its own temperament: some are docile, soft as lambs that lie still without so much as a bleat. Most however, are vicious little buggers, like truculent children who won’t put their best frock on before the big party and insist on wearing their Spider-Man costume. Even when I do manage to get a story or poem firmly sealed down, there’s always another waiting just behind. Seniority is no guarantee of an Idea’s position in the queue: I have several older Ideas for stories who, weak-armed and sickly as they are, are forever being pushed back down the list. Whichever Idea happens to be next will sit in the leather recliner of my brain, distracting me during the day, keeping me awake at night like some self-created succubus until I get it finished and earn myself some brief respite. Until the next Idea comes tapping at my chamber door, at least.
The problem with Irritation is that it comes attached to Frustration, like a hideous conjoined twin whose slack face can only drool and leer. Their horrible double act proceeds thusly: in an attempt to soothe the irritation of a firmly-ensconced Idea, I try to write it down. However, unable to find the correct words, mood and syntax to please the Idea, Frustration begins to creep in, forming a double-act almost as painful and disturbing as Jordan and Peter Andre. The most distressing facet of this Irritation-Frustration combo is that normally, I very rarely get frustrated. Attempting to do something and failing does not, on the whole, frustrate me, as evidenced by the fact that I still practice guitar despite having not improved discernibly since some time around December 2005. Writing, however, gets me frustrated, possibly because I believe I’m quite good at it, whereas I know for certain I’ll never be the next Slash. The reversal of my normal tolerance to frustration, which is frustrating in itself, in turn makes the whole process of writing much harder than most people imagine it to be.
Looking back on this, I can see why people might think “Why has he written an essay about how much he hates writing and how much of a burden it is, the ungrateful sod?” The truth is, as I said at the beginning, I do love writing. I love surprising myself with a description that I never would have imagined I could have come up with: I love the endorphin buzz of getting a complicated bit of dialogue just right. Most of all I love the feeling of having created and completed something wholly and fully realised but yet still mine.
That master storyteller Stephen King often says that stories are like fossils, lying whole and fully realised just under the surface, waiting for the right author to come and excavate them in their entirety. In my case, rather than excavating with a trowel and shaving-brush, I have to wrestle the story to the surface and kick it into submission. Eventually it is captured, grappled with and dazed for long enough to be fixed to the page; that, for me, is the true joy of writing.
Well, this one is pretty much self-explanatory. I'm not so good at non-fiction, I guess. I needed a bit of writing practice before I start my next story, though.
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:iconshadowspark:
shadowspark Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2007
wow...that's just like...me! My drawing ideas come randomly just like that! And the itching!:omfg: wow... thanks for writing that.=) We're all strugglers... Though it's often painful and frustrating, somehow, some way we make it in the end. That's just how we roll.:p
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2007
Indeed, that is certainly how I roll. Thank you very much!
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:iconemerune:
Emerune Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007
I really like this piece, especially since I can so easily relate to it. Writing is definitely not as easy as some people like to make it sound. You did a great job at capturing what it really is: a constant struggle to remain sane. <3
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007
That's a struggle I don't often feel like I'm winning. =)
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:iconamberous:
Amberous Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
I understand what you go through. I'm never 100% satisfied with what I write.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007
I don't think any writer, or any artist for that matter, is ever 100% satisfied with something they've created.
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:iconcrystalseeker:
CrystalSeeker Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
I must say, writing is easy for me. Don't kick me for saying this, but, I write very easily. And it often turns out great from the beginning - with just a little bit of editing here and there.

My Ideas come and go. If I think of something, I elaborate it, immediately, and if I like it, I store it and the first chance I get, I start writing about it in some way. Other Ideas, I let them pass.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007
DAMN YOU! Haha, not really. I am a little jealous though. I wish it was that easy for me.
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:iconsoulfreeze:
soulfreeze Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007  Hobbyist Artist
shotgun to the face.

oh wait, that's my writing style.
a good explanation of the horror we face as writers, and how pleasing the ending really is.

but as i realise, no ending feels just right - but the journey seems well worth it.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007
Boom! Headshot! That's your solution to everything...
Nothing I ever write feels 100% right, though...
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:iconsoulfreeze:
soulfreeze Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2007  Hobbyist Artist
mate, it's not supposed to. it's like drawing, i've never 100% finished, i just keep going until i know another pencil scratch will ruin it.
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:iconparadoxfoxpaws:
ParadoxFoxPaws Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Im so glad to see someone fully understand the battles that being a writer can bring, whilst enjoying it all despite the torture it can at times bring us. :clap: Well said.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007
Haha, thanks. It does feel like a battle sometimes...
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