Wednesday, October 19, 2005

On Writing

I started this blog as a way to force myself back into writing. After graduating as an English Writing major and devoting much of my time in college to expressing creativity through words and stories, I stopped doing it altogether. It makes me sad that I don't write with the same frequency that I did in school, but I'm also not in an environment which encourages me to write. I did my best writing when given assignments and deadlines (I do most things best under such circumstances). I don't have the discipline to make myself write like that outside of college. So blogging has been the best way to structure my writing and encourage this good habit that's been hiding.

A few weeks ago one of my former writing professors (the one who got the best stuff out of me) asked me to read something he had written. It was a 26 page memoir piece and I dove right into reading and critiquing it for him. The comments I wrote in response were lengthy and detailed. I apologized for the volume of criticism in my email, but I noted that I had not been asked to critique writing in so long that I went slightly overboard. It was a feeling I had missed and one that I want back. Not only do I want the opportunity to read and respond to others, but I also want to write and get feedback. And not just in this forum, but elsewhere (not sure where at this point).

Reading my professor's work reminded me of the best day I ever had as a writer. It was a Nonfiction/Memoir course taught by the aforementioned instructor. It was my final semester in college and my final writing class. And this was our final writing assignment. Earlier in the semester we had been given specific topics to write on, but for our last piece we could choose to write about any experience. I'd had my idea for the piece since the semester began in February. It would be about sex, love, and my inability to navigate between the two. The highlight of my piece was a section about my first real boyfriend, an overly experienced 16 year old with whom I first had oral sex. And the description of performing my first blow job was where I had really let myself be honest and open with my readers. I had never written so openly before (and with such precise detail). The day our class workshopped my piece, I was the last person to be critiqued. And the comments were amazing. I had put so much effort into getting the story exactly how I wanted it, really crafting each sentence and section of the piece. But more importantly, I was totally honest about myself and didn't hold back. For some reason, I could remember minute details of that first blow job: the lighting in the room, the color of the sheets, the initial discomfort that never really disappeared.

The sexual experience I'd rather forget, but I will always remember the way it felt when my classmates and professor praised my work that day.

So you should be seeing more of me soon....I've got some ideas up my sleeve that I just need to get out. If only I could tear myself away from Grey's Anatomy, Nip/Tuck, and the World Series.

Question: Do you have specific stimulants that you need around while writing? Music? TV Shows? Food or beverage? Atmosphere? Is there a certain environment that gets you writing more?


stan said...

nothing makes me write more/better than deadlines, self-imposed or not.

also elliott smith, though not too loud.

Sizzle said...

depends on my mood. sometimes silence and daybreak help the words come. sometimes rocking out to music and a glass of wine help. i tend to write when the feeling moves me, not just write for the sake of writing.

it's exciting that you are re-inspired to write. :)

erin said...

Elliott Smith - right up my alley. It seems melancholy music is what does it for me. The majority of my senior writing project was spent listening to Coldplay (which my roommate called "music to slit your wrists to").