To write, perchance to not edit

A bit of a metaphysical chat with a friend tonight, touching on the topic of writing.

I always wanted to write. Since I was young, my head has been filled with the byproducts of an overactive imagination. For the past dozen or so years, I’ve been carrying around ideas that would, were they to be formed, make themselves into novels.

So why, one might ask, do I not write? Good question, and one I ask myself over and over as I berate myself for not doing just that.

My internal editor will not shut its yap. I hear that little voice saying the same things over and over: that writing stinks. That piece is too private, too personal. That section over there is an idea that’s been rehashed forever, can’t you be original?

And there is the other side of writing, too, the side that wouldn’t be for publication necessarily, but is more an exercise to stretch one’s wings, to let the words flow about whatever topic is uppermost in the mind. A friend of mine tells me that I’ve not posted anything personal in some time, and this is true. Even my insertion of some personal details in the midst of a larger post are incidental. That same little voice yammers about how personal stuff should remain just that way, how deeper thoughts on subjects make me sound like a pretentious git, and how someone else has already said it – better – before I ever got to it.

So what’s the solution? Hell if I know. I’m just typing a stream of consciousness thing here, trying not to edit as I go along. It’s incredibly difficult, and for someone like me who is generally in control all the time, frustrating not to be able to control this as well. At times it almost feels like a failure of character not to be able to spit out the things that are stuck in the brain cells under my skull. I feel like I am awash in words that will never be written, in things that will never be said. I can’t decide if that’s a trgedy or a blessing.

5 thoughts on “To write, perchance to not edit”

  1. A tragedy. A miserable friggin’ waste for those who need to hear. Write, write and write you should. Don’t cheat us, the world, out of one more moment of truth.

  2. Writers write because they have to write. Some write ads ( like I did for 25 years); some write newspaper articles; magazine articles; letters to grandma; on the back of napkins; song lyrics; poetry; some in a leather journal or on a blog; some write grants like I do today. And some, ah yes, some of the brave write short stories or novels! and try to get them published. Published for all the world to see and critique. What stops me from the longer, more public venues? Fear! But still I write something and that is better than nothing.

  3. Food for thought – heard an essay by a ex- blogger on NPR today. She blogged for 5 years; was contacted by publishers asking about her book. She had written no book. She finally figured out that blogging was keeping her from writing her book.She stopped writing on her blog and finally wrote her novel.

  4. Interesting. I’m guessing that the things she had to say in her novel matched closely with the things she was pouring onto her blog and that created the problem. I’ve seen the same thing where people talk through their entire story and then have nothing left to write about. Fortunately, my tastes run to mysteries (murder and mayhem!) and literary fiction, and I’m not a hardcore blogger – some of them post all day, every day. I have too many other things to do to spend all day long on a blog.

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