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Monday, October 3, 2011

What Writing “Feels” Like

A friend of mine asked me recently, “What does it feel like to write?” This question caught me off guard. How do you explain what it feels like to breathe? But I’ve realized that most people don’t love writing (just like I don’t love math :) They are genuinely curious what the process is like.

Every writer is different, but this is what writing “feels” like to me. At the very best of times writing feels like—remembering. It is simply recalling words that are already written on my mind. They flow easy and effortlessly. There is no force, no effort, no struggle. Only the absoloute perfection of knowing you are writing exactly what you mean to say.

At the worst of times it “feels” like trying to turn water into wine. The words fight me at every turn and refuse to perform how I envision. It is at these times that I pull back.

When the words or the story fight me I have to wonder—Am I taking my story in a direction it doesn’t want to go? Is my story already complete and just waiting for me to get back on track so I can remember it again? Sometimes I really think that my story really is already created somewhere in my psyche, and it is up to me to remember it.

What do you think? Do you ever feel like you are remembering your story?

-Angie

14 comments:

Melissa Sarno said...

I love it that you see it this way. I've never thought of it as 'remembering' something I already know. Instead I think of it as discovering something I don't.

Ruth Josse said...

I love the idea that our stories are already somewhere inside waiting to be remembered. I sometimes feel the words spilling out and wonder where in the world they came from. Yet other times, the words seem to disappear and i have to force them out of hiding. It's as hard as getting my husband to change a dirty diaper.

Brinda said...

I loved reading your description. I see mine like a movie unfolding in my mind. That's at the best of times. In the worst moments, I am stuck in a commercial break.

Miranda Hardy said...

Yes, I do sometimes feel like my story is there and I'm remembering it. Other times, I research until it shows up.

Angela Brown said...

Remembering is a very cool way of looking at it. I also find that it's like a journey of discovery. I take my characters on this path and find that I'm learning right along with them.

E.R. King said...

Turning water into wine is a good description!
For me, writing is an outlet. It's my escape from the world, a place I can go to and become totally absorbed in. It isn't work. It isn't difficult. It's my release, my haven. It's safe.

Angie Cothran said...

Melissa - Discovering is also a great description.

Ruth - I think I could remember better if someone cooked dinner for me :)

Brinda - Stuck in commercials forever would be hell on earth.

Miranda - LOL :)

Angela - I learn with my characters too. I wish I was as smart as they are.

Emily - I love this. Haven is a perfect description.

Jenny S. Morris said...

You are so dead on. I also think writing is like joining a party, or jumping into a movie. Watching what going on, and experiences it.
Then telling someone about it on Monday morning.

Abby said...

You have a wonderful way with words. I feel like a breath of fresh air has just filled me. Yes, I do feel like I am remembering something. I just have to make sure I am getting the story straight and not holding back.

Sara Bulla said...

You've mentioned this to me a few times, and I love that Idea. I agree that it's like remembering because sometimes I don't even feel like the words are mine. They just come from somewhere else. There's nothing like it. :)

Tara Tyler said...

hey, i resemble that math crack!
i can do it, but i dont breathe it =)
when i write, i get excited about what the characters come up with! i write an outline, but they make the story.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with you. Writing is like remembering... I was canning pears with my mom last week and I thought, writing is like preserving, putting up your thoughts so they don't decay...
Kim Karras

Angie Cothran said...

Jenny - Oh I love that :)

Abby - Thanks :)

Sara - I agree!

Tara - I'm glad there are people in this world who like math.

Kim - Preserving is a perfect way to look at it :)

julie fedderson said...

Oh, I love the idea of a memory as the influence. To me it's always been like trying to bring something to life--to turn an idea on paper into a person beside me. And without all the drawbacks of schizophrenia.

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