Editor’s note: Haley Osborne is a freelance writer and contributing blogger at EssayTigers.com. Writing is her job and hobby, so she investigates the ways to improve writing skills, follows latest blogging trends and shares expert writing tips. You can find and follow her on Twitter.
Writing is both a craft and a curse. Writers are well known for celebrating their work and, at the same time, lamenting how rigorous it can be. For every comment or quote about the frustration and pain writing brings, there are a dozen more about the joy it brings, the relief and, above all else, the incessant need to continue. As a result, there are numerous essays and quotes about writing expressing controversial ideas and points of views. Why do writers write for writers and about writing? Does writing about writing make any sense? And what is most important – does writing about writing help to improve your writing?
Explaining the Role of Writers to Society
“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.” (Peter Handke)
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” (Ernest Hemingway)
When writers write about their daily routine, their understanding of talent and the profession of writing, they are consciously or subconsciously trying to show society the importance of their mission. They have the need to be appreciated and estimated as representatives of any other crafts and professions.
Who can understand writers better than the writers themselves? And who can explain better the importance and the hardships of the writer’s work than those who are actually struggling through these tasks every day? So, by writing about writing, the authors give other people a glimpse of the creative process. They also show potential writers what they should expect if they want to dedicate themselves to writing.
Sharing Writing Motivation
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” (Enid Bagnold)
It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition. (Isaac Asimov)
Writers share the reasons they write and what makes a real writer with fellow writers and those just beginning to break into the game. Thus, writers want to explain their desire to write, or inability to stop writing. Books and essays on the craft of writing help those who read them find their feet, but they also help authors to take the time and examine their own work, find their own motivations, and become more confident of their aims.
Giving Advice on Writing Progress
“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” (Philip Roth)
“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk … to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” (George Singleton)
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” (Larry L. King)
Writers with experience are more than aware of the challenges their fellow writers face when it comes to the creative process, organizing their work and thoughts, and finding inspiration. Ask any successful writer about their writer’s routine and they’re bound to mention free writing, brainstorming, literary doodling or some other euphemism for just ‘messing around’. It’s the same kind of work artists do when they sketch out new ideas – a way to clear the cobwebs from their brains and get those creative juices flowing.
Writers themselves often hang on to these early morning free writing records or notebooks with random scribbles or bolts of inspiration as a way to review their thoughts, organize ideas and simply exercise their minds and flex their creative muscles. Sooner or later, each writer comes up with some tips that are helpful for them to overcome writing challenges and raise productivity. Though such tips depend on the individual and can’t work for everyone, writers are willing to share them as valuable wisdom that might help fellow writers deal with the difficult craft.
Expressing the Writing Emotions
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” (George Orwell)
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” (Ernest Hemingway)
Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.” (Amy Joy)
Writing is not a smooth process, and the creative, sensitive souls of writers experience the complications even more painfully. One book can cause a storm of indignation, irritation, drama and heartbreaking despair. Writers are usually never completely satisfied with the results. No matter how many articles, books, novels, short stories, screenplays or other works one produces, no writer ever feels done and it sets off a cycle of grousing about the writing process that, in fact, is the only thing that brings them joy.
Honing Writing Skills by Reflection
It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous. (Robert Benchley)
“The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.” (Andre Gide)
“I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.” (Tom Clancy)
Examining the writing life is about examining the foundation and the work, aside from and independent of any final products. It’s an attempt to focus on the journey as opposed to the destination. When authors turn their attention to the craft of writing, the focus is almost always on the grunt work involved – the brainstorming, the pounding of keys and the endless revisions, edits and cuts that come with the territory. Simply put, writing isn’t an easy vocation to have and authors who embrace the pain and difficulty of the process are able to produce their best work.
Examining the writing life isn’t easy, especially when writers themselves put the craft under the microscope. Dissecting what they do and attempting to explain the methods behind their madness is difficult at best. Still, authors turn their attention to their craft and vocation to encourage other writers overcome challenges and develop their writing talent.
“Writers live twice.” (Natalie Goldberg)
As writers craft their stories, it’s impossible for them to avoid thinking and writing about the work itself. Authors who’ve run the gamut from classic literature to pop-culture masters have given their proverbial two cents on the craft of writing and each one has offered new insight into writers’ routines, habits, and rituals. For some, it is the way to help other writers find their way but for the majority, it’s about living the examined life in the hopes that by taking a closer look at what they do, they can improve it. Writing about writing is not about self-indulgence. Writers share their stories, techniques, and rituals as a way to show others it’s not an easy craft, but it’s worth the trouble, doubts and throes of creation.