Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Sacrifice: The Meaning of the Page

Writing. What is it really? The study of the human mind? A form of reverse psychology where elements of our personal experiences are woven into an alternate reality? Is it our inner fabric, reconstituted? Our own tall tale, our little lie, dwelling in the mind space of others?

There’s more of ourselves that resides in our work than we can possibly imagine. Voices from our life experience are merged with fictitious ones until they begin whispering their own story. From the dead skin of pulp their personalities rise, flesh and fantasy rethreaded into our own unique vision. Perhaps they're elements of a larger structure, where the persona being portrayed is the system itself.

However we frame it, it's curious that the human creature continues to write regardless of social status. Even if words are not intended for economic stimulus, one can still reap the benefits of their cathartic release.

But it’s so much more than that.

Characters fulfill us; when they succeed, we succeed. In their skin we can do anything, limited only by our imagination. The world of possibilities is tempting, infinite and deeply satisfying.

Besides acting out our fantasies, writing is also used to cope with problems in our personal lives. Do you see just as much of yourself in the protagonist as you do the antagonist? Perhaps it’s time to make a change. Are you struggling with your fears, dissatisfaction from past experiences or the death of a loved one? Writing can help heal these wounds, and offer perspective once you’ve determine what ails you.

So ask yourself: Why do you really write?

Is it to make a quick buck? Build a name? To become the next James Patterson or Stephen King?

Or is much more primitive than that?

Do you find that no matter how hard you try, you cannot simply turn it off? Do ideas flow like a faucet with no end in sight?

In essence, that’s my story. Since I was a child I’ve dreamed up stories that often did not make it to the page. All this time these ideas have lingered, growing more and more profound rather than going away. They dwell in my subconscious, waiting for release, and will not be denied. Deep down inside I know that I will succeed. It’s just a matter of getting it all out.

There are just as many reasons to write as there are leaves on trees, and to understand what truly motivates us is the first step towards self-fulfillment.

So I ask you again: What compels you to write?

If you are genuine and sincere, there is no amount of criticism that can deter you on your quest to becoming an author. And you may find, just as I have, that once you get started it’s hard to stop. I write because I must—I no longer have a choice in the matter—and I hope you feel the same way too.

If you believe in yourself, and strive to improve yourself every day, you will succeed. It’s only a matter of time.

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