Reader Friday: What is Writing For You?

The act of writing is, for me, like a fever — something I must do. And it seems I always have some new fever developing, some new love to follow and bring to life.Ray Bradbury

What’s writing for you? A fever, a pastime, a hobby, a vocation, an obsession … or something else?

23 thoughts on “Reader Friday: What is Writing For You?

  1. I’d say it’s a low grade fever. I feel the need to write, but not obsessively–and I’m glad I finally figured that out because I think sometimes I made writing not fun by pushing myself too much.

    That said, I have written every day for the last 173 days, a record for me. And already this month I have written maybe a thousand words shy of my entire 2017 production! And the reason goes back to the above–I decided just to have fun, not obsess about rules, research, or other things that start to put you off.

    • I feel exactly the same, BK…low grade fever. Which means I still have energy enough to fold laundry instead of facing the page.

  2. Art runs in family. One-hundred years ago, my great-great grandfather was a calendar keeper for our tribe. He was not the only one, but he kept the Aunko calendar.

    That meant that he kept track of the events of the year and then interpreted them with pictures drawn with paints that he created from various materials–flowers, plant, animal parts, and so forth–on to tanned buffalo hide or other animal skin.

    He interpreted the events in such a way so that later members of generations of our tribe would be able to look at the pictures and remember what had happened that year–obviously, the pictures were interpreted with story telling.

    The calendar keeper ordinarily kept the historical setting by winter counter count, an historical symbol to memorialize the main event of the year. Kiowa calendar keepers ordinarily kept track of two events: the main remembered event and then the summer Sun Dance.

    For example, the year 1833 (the year of a Leonid meteor shower interpreted by the Kiowas and other tribes as “the year the stars fell”), Osages attacked and massacred about 150 Kiowa men, women, and children, and the sacred Ta-me medicine bundle of the massacred band was taken. Later, peace was restored between the two tribes, to the advantage of both, and the medicine bundle was returned by the Osages in exchange for one pony.

    The Kiowa calendar keepers, including my great-grandfather, recorded those events on the hides.

    Had my tribe had a written language, I’m reasonably certain that my great-great-grandfather would have had much more to say about the events.

    So the same urge to tell stories on painted hide has passed to me in the urge to write novels. To my uncle, the urge has come down to him to tell the tribal history in an informal way–not the Ph.D. way.

    The Osage-Kiowa peace has held. One of my mother’s best friends was Osage. They traded gifts, visits, coffee, and friendship. It’s a story that I like to remember and tell.

  3. Someone (your wife, your kids) say, “Tell me a story.” What happens? Some people might struggle. For me, it’s like permission to go. An opening line or a scene stirs, poking a tender shoot into my mind and I create the story as I talk.

    Or I’m lying in bed thinking about a quote from LeBron that I just read, or a question someone asked him. Without asking permission, my brain starts spinning out things LeBron might have said.

    So why not write these brain storms down?

    I’ve said this here before: I just like to write. I like to put down “on paper” what emanates from somewhere in my mind (consciousness? sub-conscious?). I like creating a product. In fact I’ll print out a story just to have something I can hold in my hands.

    I like refining and improving what I’ve written. With some hope that others will approve, but, more basically, just to get it right.

    I can’t draw or paint. I don’t sing or play a musical instrument very well. I’m not a craftsman building a cabinet or a house. But I can do a decent job–at least I get some positive feedback–putting words on the page (screen) to create scenes and stories.

    I spent most of my adult life in a career I wasn’t comfortable in. I don’t have any desire to “be a writer.” But I’m a writer as long as I write. And I’m very comfortable with this new career.

      • The only line I remember from that movie is when the lover admits the affair to the husband, and the husband’s reply is, “You should have asked.”

        The lover replies, “I did. She said ‘yes.'”

        Or did I somehow make that up?

  4. Writing has become the gateway to who I am. I’m an old guy who has spent his life pretending to be a businessman, a salesman, a councilor, and a laborer. I don’t have to pretend any longer. I write. I write fiction that hopefully sheds light on who we all are. I don’t call myself a writer or an author because that is for readers to decide, but I do write.

  5. The universe is so much bigger than any one of us and it is also so small that it all magically fits inside of each of us… every possibility – thought of or not, existing or not, a second chance, and new creation, etc. Writing is options. Every option, every situation, every problem, every solution, every discovery – inside and out…. options. How interesting to explore, be and become anything and everything. Heck, it sounds almost god-like. It also sounds almost exactly like why it is so awesome to read – ying and yang- reader and writer.

  6. Writing for me is like a childhood allergy. “Surely you’ll outgrow it.” Or maybe it’s like I mole I’ve had since the 6th grade. “You should get that taken care of.” Well, I never outgrew it, so it’s high time I take care of it. I’ve been fanny-in-chair and fingers-on-keyboard lately, on a regular schedule. We’ll see if anything of substance comes from it. I tell ya what, it sure is satisfying finally addressing this life long condition of mine.

  7. After all these years, I still haven’t figured out what writing is to me. All I know is I can’t quit it.

    I’ve made a living as a corporate copy writer for almost 20 years. Copywriting has made me a better writer, craft-wise, but has also been a leech on my creativity. After spinning BS and telling other people’s stories for so long, doubts about whether I have any of my own worth telling run deep.

    Now I have more free time, and all I know is if I don’t finally get something out there into the world, even if it sinks, it will be the biggest regret of my life.

    But the process is agony some days. Definitely a love-hate relationship. : )

  8. Writing is a form of immortality between the body and the soul. It leaves our mark in this mortal world, and tells the future we were not only here, but who we were, and what our world was like.

    In a related event, this morning a friend messaged me saying “I was going through an old photo album and found this…”
    The Warrior, by Basil Sands (click to see the image)

    We’ve never met in person, but were both in the Marines about the same time. Unlike me, he had a career in Force Recon, while I was an admin before being put out on a medical. He’s helped me with technical details in some of my books.
    The image is a photocopy of a poem I wrote in 1988, as a 19-year-old private while in a medical rehab platoon recovering from two broken ankles. One of the Drill Instructors liked it and let me make a couple photocopies in our office, one of which he kept, the other was framed and hung in our barracks. Apparently, it got out from there because somehow it ended up in Brian’s photo-album.
    Amazing how something we said or did decades ago can pop up again years later. Makes me think of the effect our books, for that matter even our daily, often unthinking actions, can have across generations for those whom we contact, even those we don’t realize we’ve touched.
    Semper Fidelis.

  9. Writing to me is a low grade obsession. I must admit I get distracted from my writing, but I always return to it. I can’t get away from the muse.

  10. Definitely an obsession. I was having this exact conversation with some people earlier this week. I structure the rest of my life around being able to write even while handling all other responsibilities.

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