On Writing

NOTE: This piece is more a catharsis, than a legitimate piece of writing. However, it is part of the process to step out of the writing comfort zone and explore why some of us write how we write… In other words, deconstructing the process of writing in order to understand it better. I hope to learn from this exercise, so it would be constructive to hear your views, even if they are biting criticisms tearing it apart. It’s only through hearing opposing opinions that one can grow as a human being, I think. So Take 1 of “bad writing on display” :

Originally published on Medium

Credit to Streets of Madness by Evelina Kremsdorf
Credit to Streets of Madness by Evelina Kremsdorf

“All ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the gardener with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing.” — Mark Twain

There’s a bothersome itch I like to call a “writing epiphany.” It’s that sudden feeling when, regardless of time or space or matter, you’re possessed by an overwhelming urge to write… That moment when the pen becomes so restless that you are almost compelled to siphon everything out of your head onto any writing surface you can find… It means 3AM drafts, when you rudely wake the phone that’s sleeping next to you, to unburden your soul… It means sticky notes, and backs of notebooks, and scribbles in unexpected places. In a lot of ways, you’re acting outside of yourself; it isn’t conscious. Untrained writers like myself often look for “inspiration”… for something that brings out feelings that you’ve tried to bury under sands of pragmatism… for something that words can’t capture… for the ethereal on earth… anything, everything.

Of course, once possessed by the Writing Spirit, you’re often a mere automaton, driven by a senseless urge to create what isn’t yours… often times, it’s just a thought that can tip you over the edge… and then you’re drowning in a chalice of emotion, something that you might not even understand. To someone saner, it would look like madness. And maybe it really is a Red Room of ideas that are beyond comprehension. But you write anyway… letting the words take you through labyrinthine, unknown passageways.

When you read what you wrote the next day, it might just be pseudo-intellectual garbage, interspersed with borrowed ideas and broken thoughts.

You might look at something you posted in a fit of writing, and wonder why you ever thought it was kosher for public consumption. Of course, there’s probably the fact that there was no “thought” involved. Something that should’ve remained a draft, tucked away neatly in the Recycle Bin, lies naked in the infinite vastness of the Internet. If you had sense, you’d have hand-written it, keeping it safe in the rare privacy that is afforded by cellulose pulp.

There’s that Millennial, almost megalomaniac, to share though… the sense that you’re important… the idea that your words mean something… a want of human connection… a desire to be heard… Perhaps that feeling can be traced back to Man’s age-old art of storytelling… or maybe it’s just a Denial of Death… or maybe just therapy.

Regardless, I can’t help thinking that “real” writers — those who practice the art of writing almost ritualistically — must cringe at the idea of unedited, first drafts, served shamelessly, without a hint of salt and no garnish.

So now when the writing parasite bores its way into my mind, I resist… I’m afraid of “what they’ll say”; I wonder if it’s worth it…. and I over-think some more, until exhausted, it lies dormant for another day.


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