Writing is an Addiction
Like any creative endeavour, writing stems from an intimacy with life. Intimacy inherently seeks expression, manifestation and ultimately satisfaction. It is a beautiful, never-ending journey. Although the process might at times feel less romantic than this.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is to sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Nevertheless, the suffering involved must satisfy a yearning otherwise we would have seen an end to the craft long ago.
And yes, it is a yearning. It is addictive. Once you do it, you want more; you will always have more to say. Ideas won’t leave you be. Half-written pieces keep haunting you. Correlations between your ideas show up in the outside world and your hair keeps being pulled until you sit down to write.
As well as the incessant inspiration of the outside world as an ever ready muse, you also have your world within fuelling your writing. All that has happened to you and all that you have ever felt in your life matters when you sit down to write. A writer is the student of the outside world and a guru of the inner world. These are the tools you need for writing. The world outside and the universe inside, are at your disposal, for free!
And there is more. Above and beyond the opportunity to cultivate skills in expressing your imagination, writing also works as the most adept personal therapy system. Writing is the magic wand in clarifying and compartmentalizing the debris hidden in the deepest recesses of your mind and soul.
Yes, writing is bleeding your soul out at times, and it is very difficult at times. But living as a writer has its immense perks that only an old time writer can vouch for.
This is why writers write. Interestingly, a writer writes even when he or she is not actually writing.
Life is a story with myriad of plots and sub-plots and twists and bridges intrinsically interwoven.
A writer can’t not be a writer; even if he or she is not writing, because writing is an affliction, a condition that never lets the writer be anything else.
Unlike most people, the writer becomes a witness to the events of life, intensely feeling the tragedies, the comedies and even the boring bits. Experiencing the world willingly yet more intensely than the normal people. He or she will try to see the same event from different angles and from different points of views. People see with their eyes and taste with their tongue and smell with their nose and hear with their ears and touch with their skin. The writer does all that with language, and expands the sensory observations beyond what he himself perceives.
A writer has an insatiable hunger to witness every scene in the story of life using all senses ravenously; their own story and everyone else’s. The stimuli might be in a casual conversation with a friend or overhearing someone else’s conversation, or in how a stranger walks or in a family feud or it might be from an intended academic research. Impetus is a halo around the writer and like a sponge it absorbs all that is going on.
People ought to be aware that whatever they say or do might be immortalized by their writer friend. After all, half the ideas come from what life offers the writer. This is why a writer must always carry a ‘think book’ and be ever ready to jot things down. This cannot be emphasised enough. Taking notes is vital! And as soon as an idea or inspiration knocks, a writer must write it down there and then. Without fail that prominent idea proves its transience within minutes.
To a writer, life is a playground of perception and manipulation. A writer creates worlds, destroys lives, experiences romance or erotica to the extreme and weeps and weeps when the heroes die or when a child is left unloved. He wriggles in bed at night to the torture of alternate endings confusing his mind and he forgets to eat when the flow takes over. At times, he freezes, the mind gets blocked and when this happens, life seems futile, a grey cloud of helpless failure takes over all aspects of his life and he wonders whether he can ever write again. His self-worth plummets and all the enticement of absorbing life is replaced with doom and gloom. Yet, he writes. Because the condition makes him itch and he has to scratch it and keep on witnessing, researching, analysing and creating more and more worlds.
© 2016 Roxana Riaz FRSA
Founder of bohemi Project and Sacred Savouries. A playwright, director, producer and trainer of dramaturgy, she boasts 44 original scripts.