Friday, February 20, 2009

How Do You Really Feel?

How do you really feel about writing? Come on now, it's Friday, you can take a deep breath and let it all out. What are the reasons that keep you from writing? It takes courage to write, especially for those of us (including kids) who feel a little insecure at times.

Do you ever wonder if anyone would want to read what you write? Do you even care? How many of you write for yourselves? How many write with the goal of publication?

Since my blog is about igniting the spark of creativity in writers who just need a little jump start (or are in the midst of writer's block) and teachers and parents who are trying to excite children about writing, I need to know!

Please dump your comments out! Let me know what gets in the way of your writing and what helps you. I wasn't kidding when I said I wanted a network of writers who were thrilled with the entire writing process. Let's take the lid off together! Please leave me a short list of things that get in the way of your writing and a list of ideas that help!


Cat said...

Well, particularly in my blog, I DO write it for other people to read, not so much for myself. I want to be entertaining, helpful, interesting, I want to make people think more about what they do with their horses. And I want people to be inspired. I am nobody special, but I still want to make a difference in any way I can. I would LOVE to be published one day!

I think time is the biggest thing that gets in the way of my writing. I work full time, have to drive 50km to see my two horses, and by the time I've worked them both and gotten home, I usually have about 7hrs left until I'm due back at work.
Starting is the biggest struggle, it is always that first page block! However, the other night I had some horsey things churning over in my head and decided to write about it. So I sat down and didn't stop for three hours, and by the end of it I had written my first horse training article - a 2000 word piece on retraining the ex racehorse.

I guess I need that catalyst to get writing - if I haven't got anything in particular on my mind that I wish to write about, I have a hard time coming up with interesting topics that warrant more than a paragraph or two. But once I get started, I cannot be stopped until I am finished!

I love your blog, Jan. It definitely does help me a lot, even if you simply get me thinking when I don't have time to write! It means I've got it all up there still when I eventually have time to sit down and start typing.


Tara said...

Hi Jan, thanks for visiting my blog! In the past few months my promise to myself was to write as much as I wanted, without worrying about what anyone else thought. Now I have almost a full novella completed. I highly doubt that it is any good, but I have had a blast writing it, and look forward to completing it. Someday I may venture into publishing these, but for now, I'm just writing for myself. It's a good learning experience for how my students feel when I assign them a piece of writing. I agree with Cat (above), starting is the biggest struggle.

Suzanne said...

At a recent parent's evening, the head of English gave us a selection of replies she'd received when she'd asked the children why they read. One wee girl had replied, 'I read because I can't help it.' In the same spirit, I write because I can't help it.

I hope my work will be read. I hope to be successful. A multimillion pound two-book contract would be lovely. But even if nobody ever read a word of my work, even if I knew I'd never make a living at it, I'd write anyway.

Things that get in the way of my writing: Worry that what I might commit to paper isn't the best work I'm capable of producing. Lack of time. Life in general.

Great, thought-provoking post as always, Jan


Lorraine said...

Hi Jan, saw your comments on Suzanne's blog and thought I'd pop over to have a look.

I find if I'm not writing I don't feel fulfilled. Like Suzanne says - it would be lovely to be published but I'll write whether that happens or not because it's a part of me.

What gets in the way? Mood and health have a huge impact but other than that just the usual day to day interruptions.

Glue Girl said...

Hi, Jan. Very thought-provoking - as usual. The biggest thing that gets inthe way of my writing is my feeling that I don't have anything interesting enough for others to read. Sometimes, though, I'm just too tired, or not in the mood, or there is something else I'd rather be doing.

I've told you before that I constantly analyze my path to literacy so I can TRY to understand how to teach my students. As a child, I was a very advanced reader for my age. Whenever I would try to write back then, it seemed to me that everything I wrote was too "childish." Duh! I was a kid! But I think what held me back was the thought that what I was writing was not as good as what I was reading. Does that make sense? Now, to my adult self it doesn't make any sense at all because we expect children to write as children. But to my young self, it was very frustrating.
As I observe my students' approaches to writing, I think the hardest part for them is getting that first sentence down on paper. And, as I've said before, writing is baring your soul and hoping it doesn't come back all mangled up with derision and red marks. Writers may as well buy their ink at the local blood bank!

Alya said...

Hi Jan!

First. Put down the red ink! grrrr...that instills a "fear" of if "I express myself, it will be wrong..." I did not like red ink pens scribbling all over my thoughts. Not cool!

I had an experience in 8th grade when my teacher said that a piece I wrote was "boring" in her coveted red ink. Well, maybe the piece was boring- maybe I was bored with the assignment. Did she think of that? I mean how creative can you write on the subject: "No man is an island" zzzzzzzz...(I'm snoozing" years later thinking about it)


What's gets in the way of me writing? Honestly, stress. My pen can touch the page and the feelings and thoughts are all swirling around and jumbled, but I can't seem to write them. I think too, thinking too much hinders me and that makes me very frustrated. Like the above commenter, I felt the same way as a kid. I thought well beyond my years and for me, I was always looking to write a "perfect thought" I never came and to this day, it hasn't come. I think as a writer/poet/teacher/parent the process should be completely free of fear of writing something "stupid." I think the things that we scribble and the ones that we want to say can get jumbled. I guess it's like finding your way out of the forest- you have to start in some direction even if it's the wrong direction. I have personally found this true in my case. I write something that I completely hate and then I go back and grasp what I really wanted to say and how I really felt and then I can flow with the feelings. I can say though when I listen to certain types of music, my writing processes are easier. I can also say that being in tune with oneself and others opens so many doors of expression. It enables you to write from so many perspectives. If all a person knows is how grapes taste, you can't expect them to write about how pears taste- the experience just isn't there. Thus, writers though imaginative creatures can take themselves to places, but really, how can you truly write about the journey? So, I guess all in all, writers have to feel inspired, be inspired and they have to have life lesson's as a foundation. Even small children have this-if only in a limited degree. I find that young children are some on the smartest and creative people I know!

Jan, I hope this helps! What do I know?

Hey, I think I have another idea...drop by so I can run it by you:D


Glue Girl said...

Alya's comments made me reflect again on the use of the dreaded ren pen. Alya, I have to confess that I use the red pen on my fifth graders' writings. But - colored ink is an attention getter. Only. I find that if I write in black or blue, sometimes it doesn't stand out as much. And yes, I have green, purple, pink, yellow, orange - you name it- colored pens. I use 'em all. Sometimes it just isn't possible to have the child next to me whenever I am reading rough drafts. I always try to write comments that will help direct or redirect - not personal comments about writing style. And - I only give a mark below a 75% if absolutely no effort is made. I have read your work, and you have a voice. I think high schools seem more judgmental b/c they are afraid of what you might write if you "Tell me what you really think!" Jan, can you weigh in with your earlier experiences with revision? In my experience, children are very reluctant to revise because it seems as if the teacher doesn't value what they've written to begin with. But we all know that revision is really what lets us get it right. (See Alya's comment, "I write something that I completely hate and then I go back and grasp what I really wanted to say and how I really felt and then I can flow with the feelings.)

Annie Wicking said...

Why do I write?

I write because I found out I could do it, after sending years of being scare to put pen to paper. I left school being poorly educated after years of being in low paid job because of my fear when I hit the big 4.0 ten years ago I decided to prove to myself I could overcome my fear. I lost my father and that hit me badly so I wrote an article about my father and sent it a mainstream magazine and to my utter surprise and shock, they published. With my husband help and that of a dear friend, I've gain confidence in my ability to write well.

I know, I still make mistake, but I do believe I have a talent for writing. It also surprises me how many followers I have on my blog now, Jan. It's so lovely to think that they enjoy what I write when only a short time ago I wouldn't have been able to write down a single word without worrying if I had spell it correctly, if I was using it properly etc.

I know I’m still on a huge learning curve, but I just can’t live without it now, and I enjoying every moment of my new found freedom.

Jackie Ashenden said...

Um, seems my post didn't make it! I'll try again.
I just wanted to say that I write because I can't not. Being published, people liking my work, those would be great but fundamentally I write for myself. It makes me happy. Like Lorraine says, it's part of me. I don't think I could stop even if I tried.

My biggest problem is actually not knowing when to stop. I border on the obsessive when I'm working on a project and I know my family gets sick of it! Any ideas on how to stop writing? :-)

Angela said...

I've been told for so many years that I should write a book, that I have a gift through my writings that touch other's. The struggle I have is, how do I even begin to get a book published, where do I go, would anyone even want to buy it, bla bla bla (excuses, fear and procrastination are some of the bla bla bla's I use).

I'm so thankful to have been lead to your blog. I've decided to add myself as a follower. I KNOW it was not by chance that I've been brought here...


Kaye Manro said...

Hello Jan,

Your blog is such a wonderful idea! I hope you do turn this into a book. Education is so necessary. So many people may want to write and can't-- but could if they just practiced more. You are doing a great service. Kaye

Tammy Corbin said...

Well Jan... in keeping my word (in an email sent to you Friday), I am visiting your blog and giving feedback. I have never once thought of myself as "a writer", but I find God giving me assignments of stories that need to be told to bring people closer to Him- so that's why I am currently writing. The biggest hurdle is, of course, TIME. I have no problem putting my thoughts on paper, which is basically all I'm doing. If I had to make up a story or use my own creativity I'd probably be lost! I am LOVING the information/suggestions/assignments posted on your Blog, and I will pray for the ability to prioritize to include routine visits and participation. I think it could allow me to help others that come here to my Equine program.

sherrinda said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your site is wonderful and very informative. I think for me, the stress of life prohibits me from being free to let go and write. I will sit and blog or read other people's blog before letting go to write in my WIP. I think it is because I feel the need to have a large block of time before I site to compose, instead of just writing with the little time I have and building up my word count over time. I am trying to find my way through this new writing journey.

Sandy said...

When blogging, I blog/write with the hope people read and comment. I'm always dissappointed when people visit, but leave no comments. I think if one is just writing for themselves, they don't post in a public forum. After all, one can write in a diary, or notebook, or on the computer in a word document and no one else see's that. I think we all write and enjoy interaction blogging provides.


Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I haven't had trouble with writing once I got started but I have followed my sister's advice and that is to write something every day. That's one reason why I blog and I also do book reviews on Amazon. I also have notebooks everywhere (even the bathroom) and I jot things down as they come to me.

When writing my novel I had some really down and stressed days when I didn't think I could write a thing. I'd sit at my lap top and tell myself, Just start. You can always erase it”. So I did. Within a few minutes I was in the zone and writing happily. My stress vanished and I was enjoying myself immensely as the hours went by. So far I've found writing to be very therapeutic.

I did have a little trouble starting writing at first because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I can draw so as scenes for my book came to me I began by sketching them. I had most of the chapters in the book done in sketches long before I started to write. Then when it came time to face the writing, I took my drawing and looked at it and then set about to describe the scene… and it was amazingly easy. After that it was like a cork out of a bottle and I couldn’t stop myself.

Currently I’ve submitted to a few publishers and am still waiting to hear back. I think it’s probably time to get an Agent as I believe most published authors have agents.

Thanks for creating this place where writers and aspiring writers can come together to share.