Writing is a skill, perhaps an inborn talent aa well. Few can write. It has less to do with experience or education than it does with temperament. Writing is sacrificial, too, and few are willing, daily, hourly, moment by moment, to make that sacrifice. They have been deprived of the courage, the stamina, the vision to do so.
Though spoken word also demands skill, talent, precision, it does not require commitment, there is no verbal signature; so all that is said may easily be forsworn.
Writing a novel is like flying at night, deprived of the perception of depth; yet as pilot-in-command, with the revelation of the lights below, and attentive to your instruments, you can make it to your destination, or make it to dawn, whichever comes first.
One’s writing – penned, first in one’s head, then on paper, then read and re-read countless times – will always seem both worse than it is and better. The writer alone knows just how it must be.
Writing is like breathing. It sustains the life of the writer. A writer who does not write is like a boat in view of the sea but never on the water.
Seek first your muse, then your audience. No matter what you write, your audience will find you. It is not the sail that pursues the wind, but the wind, the sail. Intensity is either fled or sought. Either way, whether run away from or towards, your writing, if possessing even a modicum of truth, will have its impact. Lives will unfold built upon foundations wrought from your words, their arrangements on the page.
If destined to write, you will write. It not, you will not. Others have other things to do, to show. Writers have their words. They have their books. The timing is irrelevant. Whether it is years from now, or months, it will happen. Belief determines reality. Believe, and it will be so.
Frederick, by Leo Lionni, my favourite children’s book, comes to mind. While the others in his community labored at their individual and collective tasks, Frederick’s labour, his contribution, was that of the perception, the meditation upon, and the interpretation of the essentials of nature, such that he could later recall them vividly, unfolded in words that could imbue them with life anew. In the stark cold of winter, it was Frederick’s words that brought warmth, joy, and hope to all of the others. Frederick is a field mouse. Frederick is a poet.
Write, poet. Write, magus. Write, writer.