I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic” and the question I have to ask myself if “Do I believe?”
I don’t believe in Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny, but I don’t tell my class that. I do believe in Jesus and God as one and the same but intrinsically different, which is a hard believe at times, and the actual Trinity makes it even harder. I sort of believe in ghosts and spirits because the evidence is there, in my house. I don’t believe in the Washing Fairy, as my son and other half do. I do believe in being nice to other people.
Do I believe in the idea that ideas are out there, waiting for me to be available to write them? Do I believe that inspiration hangs about in the ether, flitting from person to person waiting to find someone who is going to open their mind and heart long enough to write or paint or draw or make whatever the idea is that is crying out to move from an ephemeral wisp of nothing, to a solid and shareable piece of creativity? I think I might be starting to.
I have 25% of the book left to read, according to Kindle. I’ve read most of it yesterday, making a conscious decision to come away from the Brainship world (I return there over and over again!) to look for a book that will actually help me to write.
What Gilbert says, however, is that the only person who can actually help me write, is me. I have to actually get off my backside, get the pen and paper, turn the computer on, whatever it is, and want to do this. I have to try and I have to enjoy trying.
The last isn’t hard. I love writing, I love the feeling of a pen in my hand or hte keys under my fingertips and I love leaving my marks on the paper or screen. I can type as fast as I think, almost, and so most of the time I type, but I also always have a notebook with me, jotting down pen portraits, desciptions, first lines, story outlines, anything that comes. I don’t do it enough though - I wait and see if anyone is around, so that nobody asks. I can’t be a writer, in my head, if nobody wants to read what I write.
That’s where I’ve been going wrong. I’ve been thinking that I can’t be what I want to be, unless other people are involved. This is wrong. (In my head I wrote a curseword, but my mother might read this one day!) This is wrong because I have to do whatever it is that I want to do, that I need to do, that I have to do as a huge intrinsic part of me that cannot be contained any more. It has been. I wrote a lot as an angst ridden teen. I acted a lot at Uni and let it out that way. I stopped everything when I started teaching and it absorbed my life, and then I started again when I had my son and he was tiny and I had time again, and then he got bigger and then I didn’t have time again, and my creativity was in him and in my classroom and now I have the urge, the need, the have to, to open up that flow again.
I had the moment to write “to open up that vein again” which would have made a more beautiful sentence, but it’s not how it is for me. I don’t drain myself to exhaustion to write. I can’t. I have so many other demands on my time and my own self, that this has to take it’s place in the queue. Life is like that!
This Easter holidays I have written a lot. I had printed out a couple of things to revise, but I didn’t get chance to as they were made into paper aeroplanes on a camping trip. I will do. I need to sort that out, get a summary, send it out, because even though I don’t believe, now, that part of my writing is the need to be read, I’d still like it read.
I have no idea who will read it, who would want to read it, but I want to give it a chance to fly. I want to send out short stories and see them in print, not from an arrogant ego based sense of my own brilliance, but from the point of view that that is their purpose.
That might look contrary to my previous epiphany, but it isn’t in my head. My head says “Don’t let the need to a reader stop you being a writer, but once it’s written, start collecting rejection letters until one day you don’t!”
So that’s the plan.
Starting with this, today.
I have to write. It’s who I am. I am a creative person. I am a writer.