Why? Choosing to Write
Readings for this week were Solutions by Janet Frame (pages 78-87) and The Glass Essay by Anne Carson (pages 1-38).
This lecture didn't focus on a certain aspect of how to write or writing techniques like the previous classes did, but rather focused on asking students why they write and why they write the way they do.
I write because...The lecturer gave us a few minutes and asked us to individually write down how we would end that sentence.
I write because... I love to and I need to. Because if I don't, I'll go crazy. Because if I don't, how will I share everything wonderful and terrifying that happens inside my head?There were heaps of different answers and some people read theirs out to everybody. What our lecturer wanted to stress was that there is no wrong answer to this question. Everybody write's for their own reasons, and some people write for many different reasons. Answers may change over time or in different situations, but there is no such thing as a wrong answer here.
There are different ways to look at writing. The first way we discussed was writing as a form of art. I think this is the form I am most inclined to associate with my own writing. You can do the same thing with words that you can do with paint or film or another medium, if you do it right, and if you really put your heart into it. You can collaborate with people from other fields of art: thespians and film-makers need someone to write their scripts, photographers and painters need someone to write up a bio for them or write a poem to accompany a one of their pictures. This isn't to say that writer's can't be multi-disciplinary or that people in other professions aren't capable of writing for themselves, but it's still an option; writing alongside other forms of art. Like any form of art, writing is easily used as a form of expression for ideas and thoughts.
With the ability to express through writing, as with any form of art, might also come the fear of writing. Our lecturer showed us this video of Jacques Derrida talking about how he feels fear when writing... please excuse his French:
Aside from as an artistic medium, writing can me seen as a skill and as a profession, though the class agreed that this should be seen as more of a parallel to seeing it artistically rather than opposing it. Writing is a craft or a skill and this means it's something that you can DO. It involves practicing and progressively getting better at it. And practice here means that we continue doing it, even if our ideas aren't very good, so that when a really good idea does spring up, we can catch it and write it down the best we can straight away instead of waiting for a good idea to practice on.
As a practice, writing becomes a stable framework within which wild and unpredictable explorations and discoveries can be welcomed, or as my lecturer put it "A stable framework for craziness." As a practice, it could either be defined as something you actively do, or as a part of your identity because you do it.
Writing - and I'm sure that a lot of people start out this way, I definitely venture into this area at times - find writing to be a therapeutic and that writing well is even more so, or as a way of helping you think.
There are probably countless reasons for writing and of course there is no wrong answer. But our lecturer left us with something to think about: what is the difference between being a writer and just writing? If there is one. Personally, I think that if you consider you writing as a part of your identity, you can then identify as being a writer, but if you just write and don't really consider it a huge part of yourself, perhaps you're only writing. Of course, that's just my own opinion and I'm sure people will disagree, so please don't hate.
Nonetheless, I will pose the question to you: is there a difference between being a writer and just writing?
And why do YOU write?
And that concludes Writing Craft! I hope these posts have been informative and helpful to at least one person. Have a nice day.