Archive

on writing

QUESTION:

“how do you come up with your poems? i always want to write but i don’t know what to write about. everything never sounds the way i want it to. and writing seems to come easily to you”

MY ANSWER:

writing, actually, does not come easily to me! i edit and edit but what i do is i try to get the main theme across. sometimes i want something to sound pretty, other times i want to connect a metaphor. there isn’t a secret to the way i come up with poems, it’s just…imagination. everything i learn i connect it to something i feel, and that’s just how i see and feel life. and then it’s just a matter of time before i translate it into words. it sounds like you know what you want to write about, the outcome just isn’t what you desired it to be. writing is as difficult as is any form of self-expression. everything seems great in our head and then we splash it onto a canvas and we’re like “NO NO and NO!” but that’s what drafts are for. drafts become recycled so that they can turn into final drafts, or maybe that one thing you tried to write about wasn’t meant to be at the time. it doesn’t mean you can’t start over, it doesn’t mean you can’t go back to it.

writing is always a process. write about pretty things you see in the world and write about the ugly parts of you, and don’t worry about whether your words sound pretty or ugly. when you start anything, whether it is a sport, painting, writing, or dancing, you don’t start off by trying to master it, you just have to get the momentum going. you need the drive to do whatever you want. be welcome to failure. i’ve been writing since i was 14 and i just started poetry july of 2012. i think most of my “work” looks/sounds/feels terrible after i look back on it, but i am obsessed with writing my feelings and i just have to get them out whether i like it in a week or a month. but i set that aside because i know it’s just that i have high expectations of myself. everything is a process. don’t be afraid of terrible work. terrible work always precedes wonderful work. in any case, all work is beautiful despite your judgment. don’t worry about perfecting your voice, you already have one. it just depends if you like it. trying to write like other people, trying to sound sophisticated, that is not you. do not develop a voice that doesn’t resonate with you for the sake of sounding admirable. let go of your perfectionist tendencies and let your creative energy take over.

don’t let people’s writing intimidate you. recognize that a lot of writers come from years of writing. writers have literature and creative writing majors. writers are readers. write about what you are so fucking obsessed with that you cannot get it out of your mind until you have it set out on paper. that’s where you can start.

just get that momentum going. you’ll discover your rhythm along the way

Image

I can’t not write. I can’t even begin to fathom a life without writing. It’s obnoxious how much I enjoy the act of writing. What I love about writing is that I can both, at once, be enveloped and detached from my self.

Sometimes I have trouble keeping focus. It’s not because nothing sustains my interest, paradoxically, my attention jumps from one idea to the next out of excitement. Everything is interesting. I’ll be reading something and a burst of thoughts will begin to crystallize, and I’ll form my train of thought from there. When I started to write this, I was actually in the middle of reading a book that I had to put down in order to scribble down these thoughts. One thought provokes another and I become lost in the realm of verbal expression. Does it ever happen to you where writing feels like a drug? It becomes a vast ocean of free writing. Your rational intelligence dissipates and the intuitive mind takes over. It’s almost as if both my hands are moving and my mind is spinning, but it’s going at such a rate that I am not consciously aware of what I’m thinking until I see it on paper.

People often note that I must read a lot because of my abundant writing. I don’t. It’s so hard for me to focus on one book at a time because I become so antsy about my own ideas that I become absorbed by them. It’s a transcendental feeling when I write, it makes the emotions much more real, it makes reality that much more real.

I can’t even finish this interior design book that I started (2 weeks ago) because:

1) I decided to search up Russian design when it mentioned the word “Russian”

2) because it mentioned Renoir speaking about the “white on white” technique and I had to search up who this artist is

and

3) because I have other books laying around and I thought, well why not read those too! i can read them all at once!

Sometimes my mind is empty. Sometimes I repetitively refresh my Facebook page thinking that a late night status will suddenly and somehow spur some inspiration in me, as if I don’t already know that the news feed naturally refreshes itself.

Do any of you do this? Sometimes it’s pathetic how much time I spend lurking on the internet but really it’s just that i’m waiting for inspiration to bloom. I stare at the same internet page waiting for some god to bestow me with a good thought that I want to take shape. Sometimes I hop off from this couch, pace around my studio, grab another cup of tea, maybe put away a few clothes, and plop back down, hoping that this inspiration will just manifest itself within me. I can’t stand writer’s block.

Other times, when I have writer’s block and I so happen to be optimistic about my next entry, I am enthralled by the idea of the first sentence I will type, because that ultimately will lead the rest of the piece. Sometimes I think I’ll run out of things to write about because there are only so many thoughts I can have before they start to become redundantly boring. And they don’t! That’s the best part – that the mind is a pool of creativity. Sometimes I think I should just take a break from writing. Do you know how many more hobbies I could put into a day?! I could actually sit down and finish these damn books which are all bookmarked around page 100. I could actually play this piano piece that I’ve been meaning to perfect. I could try and develop these painting skills (or so that’s what I tell myself – that they’re just dormant and in a rather long, long state of hibernation).

This, is what I tell myself.

And look what I’m doing: hurriedly writing down all these thoughts on a post-it note at work while the toddlers are napping even though I’m supposed to be folding the laundry and washing the dishes.

It’s rare that I look at my writing and I think, “shit, that’s pretty good!” but does that stop me from writing? Clearly that is not the case because these ramblings persist! Like the painter or photographer, many pieces are recycled (if that, generally discarded and never looked at again) before a piece strikes a chord, hits a nerve. Artists are just obsessively trying to find a way to express themselves. The paradox about art is that it both clears traffic in the mind as well as clutter it, but it’s the good kind of clutter, the kind of clutter that rids of the weeds in the backyard so that the garden may flourish.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” -Albert Einstein

Some thoughts have even been lost on the way as I write this, and I think, “fuck!” and mentally pinch myself. Writing with a pen and paper is nice, but it’s not as nearly efficient. The best place for me to write is at my laptop because I type pretty fast, at a good pace of 110 WPM, and I can nearly type at the speed which I think.

Side thought: Do you think one day they will be able to invent a machine that can record your thoughts? Like a heart monitor but for the mind! Oh goodness that would be wonderful.

On the other hand, I don’t like to write when I’m…anywhere where I’m not alone and it’s not easily accessible for me to write. I always take notes in my phone of what I consider to be “important” thoughts that I’d like to elaborate further. But once i’m in a quiet environment hours later, such as my home, I can’t even go back to the thoughts because I’ve already moved on and can’t write about what I’m not genuinely feeling in that moment. if I were to write about it, it would be forced, and I can’t handle that (that’s probably why I don’t like academic writing).

I think the best thing about not only writing, but any type of art, is that it’s enrapturing. Creating art is beautiful. That’s what everyone should do, embrace the little artistic child that is within them and channel all that energy towards that one idea, or seven (or thirty-three). Knowing what we stand for, whether it be dancing, painting, helping others have a good time, is one of the best things we can do, not only for ourselves, but for the world. I believe one who is artistic and aware of this very aspect is both fascinated with the world and brings out the fascination in others. Artists carry inspiration in their essence. It’s how they breathe, for it as vital as eating and sleeping. Ideas trickle other ideas. It’s the domino effect, the butterfly effect, the ripple effect, whatever you want to call it. It’s momentous.

“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.” -Chuck Palahniuk

Creating art is a love affair with the mind. To be scared of your mind is to be scared of everything. Trust where your mind wanders. It’s the most powerful, transforming, and magical tool. Metacognition – it’s what differentiates us from other species. Those who become trapped in their minds will never understand the freedom that comes with it. Has anyone ever benefited from overthinking? I don’t think so. I think people who overthink just haven’t found an outlet that facilitates a sort of mental release. Your mind is the palette that determines your masterpiece. Use your five senses to translate what swims in the mind. You are the paintbrush of your mind.

I’ve often questioned whether the people I encounter are survivalists or catalysts, and the truth of the matter is that we are all catalysts. It’s in our blood to create.

Go create art. Find your niche. Move in the direction that which nourishes your soul. Don’t fight against what the heart wants. Discover your passion. And be it. Become your own inspiration.

sometimes i just sit here at my computer until inspiration comes to me

do any of you do this. sometimes it’s almost pathetic how much time i spend lurking on the internet but really it’s just that i’m waiting for inspiration to bloom. i stare at the same internet page waiting for some god to bestow me with a good thought that i want to take shape. sometimes i get up from this couch and pace around my studio, grab another cup of tea, maybe put away a few clothes, and plop back down, hoping that this inspiration will just manifest itself within me. i can’t stand writer’s block. other times my mind is pressed on fast forward. i could sit in front of this computer all day if it meant i would be guaranteed a payroll but i wasn’t a literature nor creative writing major and i have no idea what it means to be a good writer. i don’t even know the basic rules, there must be something i can read about this, but dear, i am afraid of criticism. my writing follows no logical order, its as sloppy as barbecue-stained fingers and as messy as a hairdo exposed to whirling wind. i don’t even know how to write stories. novels require a certain level of dedication that my patience doesn’t have. my temptation leads me to new thoughts. james frey says, “either you can write or you can’t.” where does this money ordeal come into play?

observer by day, maniac by night, dreamer by choice, misfit by destiny, lover by chance.

depending on which time period and frame of reference you’ve met me, i could be anything. i shift identities. i’m the girl that timidly smiles at the cashier and i’m the girl that strikes up a conversation and learns your life in a minute’s time. sometimes i am silent and sometimes i am in the middle of the dance floor asking you to move to the rhythm of chaos with me. the problem with growth is that change complements instability. ask me what i stand for, and i’ll write you a novel. ask me who i am, and that depends on how wild my emotions are running. what i’m trying to convey is that i’m not entirely sure. however, i am sure of this. i am sure that madness has taken over me, and i couldn’t ask for anything else. i’ve already died, i am already in heaven. or is this hell? this would be a great question to philosophize over tea. ask me who i am, and i can compile you a list of everything that i resonate with. but for simplicity’s sake, i am a writer. i am a poet more than anything and i live in a secret language of emotions.

i write to understand. i write to know what matters. meaning is revealed when these words crawl onto a page and unveil a story derived my heart. writing keeps me sane. writing saves me from my nothingness, from my too muchness. i want to capture the fleeting present moment. it is in my nature to obsessively jot down these thoughts before it becomes outdated. contrarily, i write what i can’t seem to forget. i write what my heart carries, what my mind translates. writing is my racing pulse.

i don’t write to construct an argument. i write to evoke emotion. i’m not trying to tell it like it is, because, the truth is that nothing is just as it seems. i’m not trying to organize my thoughts, i’m trying to find some sensibility. i’m neither trying to be excessively wordy nor harshly brief. i don’t want to file away these feelings for safekeeping, i want to indulge in them. on the other hand, i write to feel at peace, to tame the voice that screams, “write me down! write me down! hurry! i’m moving on! did you catch that?”

the air i breathe contains a melody, so when i inhale music notes, i exhale a sonata. i write to comprehend the walls closing in, to glorify the liberation. i write to meet and greet with my fears. i write to bid my shadows goodbye. my writing, like my wardrobe, tells me, “this is how i feel today.”

i write to know that i exist. it’s the only certain way that i know i’m alive.

Sharing your poetry with someone is letting someone into your heart. Whereas a painting, a music piece, a dance, or a look, these are all open for interpretation. Poetry, while as cryptic and mysterious as it is, speaks the language of the soul. It tells you, “Here is what I am feeling and I am hoping to understood. Here is the the exact passage to my heart, and I’ve drawn out a map for you.” Allowing your writing to not only be viewed by your sets of eyes, but by others, maybe even strangers, is a powerful emotional connection. Although sometimes it may seem as if writing about your utmost confusing, daunting, darkest parts may be like free access to the less visible aspects of your heart, remember that people will deeply resonate with what you have to say. Letting go of fear, letting go of the idea of being judged, of being frowned upon, is what allows us to share with others our experience at its truest, its rawest.

That’s why I’ve created this blog open to the public for others to read. Even though I may filter what I post and how I post it, it’s a process. What I share on this website is reflective of how comfortable I feel at the time. This is a hand reaching out from me to you, telling you that you are not alone. This is not me trying to show that I am able to connect to you, that my words are able to chime with the beat of your heart, that I somehow contain the words. It’s not like that in the slightest, rather, it’s to show that we connect together. That we, we are the same. Too often people just scrounge for differences, why they feel lonely, why they feel left out, why they feel misunderstood. Here is my blog to describe the emotions, observations, and reflections that manifest within how I approach my life, hoping that it synchronizes to your emotions. This blog may have all my ideas written all over it, but there are also yours as well. I can only hope that the colors I’ve painted parallels to the blends of our hearts. Together we face the world, whether it be tainted or beautiful or cracked or pure or anything in-between and beyond.