I’ve been getting a lot of questions over the course of my writing career from people who have stories that they want to write, but don’t know where to start or if they even should begin. I’ve been writing for eight years or so now and in that time, I’ve finished a bunch of manuscripts and published a few books to boot. Through those experiences, as well as dealing with publishing companies, resorting to the avenue of self-publishing, and learning that though they are expensive, editors are more than worth it, they are necessary, I’ve come to sit upon a wealth of lessons and advice that I wanted to share, to some degree, with others in my position.
Writing is my favorite past time and it’s something I’ve felt passionately about for nearly my whole life. I wrote my first story in fifth grade, then have written ever since. What I didn’t realize then was shitty Yu-Gi-Oh fanfic birthed a storyteller within me and I’ve been on that path since the day I began. Writing is an internal thing to me, I do it for several reasons, but almost all of them deal with me.
I write to process information, happiness, pain, anger, guilt. I write to speak to myself clearly, I form ideas about life and in order for me to understand what I’m trying to say, I write it down. I write because I need that outlet. When I don’t write, I notice a sizeable change in my mood and my life outlook. Things tend to grow bleak in a world where I don’t get to be a writer.
In the video, I mentioned the reasoning behind adopting a creative discipline, be it writing or art or something else that employs the creative muscles in your brain. The fact is, being creative makes for a good mood shifting tool. From my perspective, engaging in various forms of art has been nothing but good for me. Of course, it grows frustrating when I can’t adapt a song the way I want to play it, or write a passage the way I see it, but my mind is enamored with struggle. I’ve been known to do things the hard way intentionally in some instances, just because I want to learn more along the way. Everything is a lesson to me, and in the process of artistry, those lessons are sometimes vague and difficult to understand, while other times they cut right to the bone. However good or bad the experience is, it always turns into a positive for me.
From Psychology Today:
Repetitive satisfying art making may actually mediate depression and anxiety by stimulating the “accumbens-striatial-cortical” connection in the brain. It is perhaps connected to what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named “flow,” an experience of complete concentration and absorption. Because flow is close to other mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, it may offer many of the same positive, attention-focused benefits through deep engagement in an art process.
This process adapted to the practice of art is why it is so calming and efficient in the management of negative emotions. It’s basically meditating when you delve deep into the practice of your art. Of course, there are likely caveats, as with all other disciplines. There are days that you will wake and find yourself frustrated at the size of your task.
In fact, that’s how I feel currently in the process of editing, but editing is a beast that requires its own whole session in this series. For now, I am holding on to the token of thought that one day, the hard work that makes me want to rip out my hair will bill worth every second of time I spent wading through misspellings and difficult choices when deciding what of my writing to keep in the story and what to abolish.
“Art is an expression of joy and awe. It is not an attempt to share one’s virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of selfless spirit.” -Davit Mamet
So, the process of being creative brings a fundamental joy to us through the work we pursue. If that is the case, then you should absolutely begin writing, or creating music, or whatever else you decide to pursue. Each faction of creativity creates an outlet for us to push our displeasures, heartbreaks, and sorrows as well as a place to celebrate success, joy and love. There are few things that hearken back to the thought of magic than that, don’t you think?
One note, in regard to creativity and happiness, is that it serves as a dual effort. There is a wide one-way line between happiness and meaning. We exist to have a purpose, some kind of meaning that can define our lives. For example, happiness can give us meaning but the meaning will give us happiness. When we find our purpose, it will fill our hearts with joy.
Creativity, in whatever manner you use it in, will aid in creating meaning for each of our lives. Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean making art or writing music or books. My father is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met but he doesn’t create music or poetry. He builds things, he works on cars. He takes that creative spirit and turns it into energy.
We each have our own way to be creative, and I happened to choose words.
Which brings me back to the original question,
“Should I write?”
Yes, yes you should. If you have the desire, even a seed of an idea growing in the back of your mind, you should at the very least try. If you don’t try, you will never know.
Of course, if the answer is yes, it can be a daunting task to follow through. There is a lot involved when it comes to learning how to pursue writing, and that is why I decided to create this blog + corresponding YouTube channel. I want to talk to you about writing in its various forms, and give insight to the journey I’ve been on for the last few years when I sat down in a Walmart bathroom and asked myself…
Should I start writing?