Friday, 22 May 2015

Loneliness and the long distance writer.....

Image result for writing outdoors

Writing is a solitary pursuit, that’s a given. There’s usually no one around when you face that blank piece of paper or blank screen. I’m a writer that requires silence – pin drop if possible. Some writers have acquired the zen like habit of being able to write around a chaotic family life, a commitment filled professional life and a host of other obligations.

Writing is not for wimps. It’s one of the toughest disciplines in the art of soul expression. Writers, especially the prolific kind, bare their souls and wrestle with their inner demons to birth their literary offspring.

True writers, in my humble opinion, are born not created. It’s a gift that’s placed into their hearts long before the gestation period on the earthly plain. The flair for prose and poetry is an ethereal quality that challenges even those who are born with it. Writers can’t quite believe or accept their skill-set to place words that engage, alarm, mystify and de-mystify, cajole, frighten, relax, hearten weep and question. Words are ultimately powerful, they can build bridges and start wars.

A writer has a responsibility just as a sprinter has when he faces the open road. Everything hinges on mind and body coming together to deliver a high quality race and finish. They know that everything rests on their daily exertions to fill the pages and maintain endurance.

Non-writers, who believe that they entered this world without a gift are in awe of the published writer. They erroneously believe that plots/characters pour forth from the writer’s mind like the foamy waters of the Niagara. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Loneliness, frustration and plagued with constant doubts is the writer’s brief. Writers become anti-social as they lock themselves away behind closed doors and write/tap away into the small hours. They don’t answer their telephone and barely keep up with current affairs. If they did, it would severely detract from focusing their energy on their work-in-progress.

A work in progress demands attention to detail. Little things to writers mean a lot – a sneer, scowl, glance, glare, stare, laugh and grin. A writer feels every word and enters into this world he/she creates and then makes friends with their characters – not just the protagonist but the villain too. A story line is scattered with the dark and light scenes – the endless struggle between good and evil is played out until the climax is reached.

Good writers are usually insecure. Confidence comes with practice and even publication but it’s a difficult path that writers tread. Each page challenges the grey matter to spew a lava of unfettered thoughts to obliterate the whiteness on page and screen. To write and have someone read your efforts is like standing in a room of strangers – naked. To hear your words critiqued is like having a knife twisted into your heart. To hear them appreciated is – after the initial shock – like drinking in the nectar of the gods.

A writer, however, is rarely satisfied. A writer is only as good as his/her last book. A sequel beckons as soon as the manuscript is submitted and prepped by agents and publishers. Readers are voracious and want more and the voice in the writer’s heart and head are demanding.

A writer’s work is never done; it’s a life long pursuit. After months of writing and revising - tired but triumphant - a writer emerges from his cabin to appreciate the world anew. Word –worn but inspired to live on to write for another day. Everything is remarkable to a writer – a brushed blue sky, a lovelorn nightingale, torrents of rain, gnarled hands, a gurgling stream. Senses are constantly on alert to the ordinary and extra-ordinary quality of the world.

The only failure in writing is to stop. A good writer knows that this is an endless race. Loneliness is a necessity. It’s a friend that sits with you when inspiration and dedication join forces to hone a masterpiece.






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