On Writing

I write a lot. Not in the conventional sense, whatever that means. I mean, I don’t like sit down and write because I want to be a writer, because I want to say “hey, I write. Look at me and my thoughts and ideas and all that” and beg to be read or for the identify of being a writer. 

No, I write out of compulsion. When I was thirteen I began writing in a journal. I was very precocious as a young child, and always had a notebook of drawings wherever I went, and I was obsessed with the library, and I grew fascinated by great minds, specifically inventors and artists. One of which is da Vinci. Others were Nikola Tesla and Benjamin Franklin and Newton and others just fascinated me, and there was one feature that struck me most about them all… or any great thinker or mind: they all journaled. They all wrote their ideas out. 

And so, when I was around thirteen years of age, I picked up a journal and never really stopped.

I read a quote by EM Forster in my first creative writing class during my first year of college when I was 20, and it captured the heart of exactly why I write: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”

When I read this, I thought “Ah. THIS is why I write.” Because my internal thoughts and feelings were often a restless tangle of energy. Writing was a compulsion, a therapeutic release. I never followed the rules with writing. It was always my voice, typically a stream of consciousness. And I would write about my problems or current experiences, past memories, poetic verses that suddenly flowed through me, ideas I wanted to get clear on… or explore new topics of thought. It was literally a way to clarify my thoughts. 

When I was younger, my writing would often be jumbled, illogical, sporadic, grammatically incorrect. It wasn’t anything to be proud of, per say, but I didn’t care. It was like sketching with my thoughts. It just flowed. My journal was a place where I’d play with phrases. Words. Ideas. Feelings. Voices. Styles. Assumptions. etc. A place where I’d create, and upend convention, say what shouldn’t be said, just to try it on, be someone else, just to see how to feels. They say writers live life twice, and that writers are all actors. I tend to believe this, in a sense. 

And there’s always been a way that I’ve striven to write. Anton Chekhov, one of my favorite short story writers, said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” 

This struck me profoundly. Don’t tell it how it is. Show it how it is. 

Stories and narratives and anecdotes are essential to the human experience, and make us relatable to one another. We learn best when we do, when we relive. If you can communicate in a way that someone else can relate to, with as few as words as possible, so that reading or listening is as effortless as possible, I believe you will be an effective communicator, and touch a nerve. 

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