Expression or Impression: Writing’s Role in the Rigmarole

Are you stuck in a loop of writing, editing, and submitting with no end in sight? Maybe you have an agent, but he hasn’t been able to sell your stuff. Maybe you’ve published a short story in your local paper. Whatever the case, you are a writer. Obsession isn’t always the right word to describe the passion you put into your pieces, but you put pen to paper and create while somehow juggling life in the foreground.

Most of us are background writers, and that’s more than okay: that’s reality. Now we’re approaching summer, and I always find myself a little more energetic. Why, just these last two weekends I pruned my honey locusts, planted some lilacs, and finished a frame for a three-by-four-foot painting. Now I need to write.

The masochism that is the cycle of submission is strangely compelling, but now is the time to remember why you write. It’s that connection between you and the world combined with your ability to turn ideas into reality. There is something to the act—a painter’s brush stroke on a canvas. Maybe you’ve forgotten it, or maybe you’ve been meaning to find the time. Whatever the case, take the next week off and write for yourself.

This blog isn’t the Holy Grail to all things writing, it’s the combined efforts of a handful of writers reaching out to pat their fellow writers’ shoulders and say, “We get it. You’re not alone, and you’re on the right track.” Some of us here are published, others are in the midst of something great, and some are just discovering themselves. All are writers…all are creatives.

I look to people without the desire to create, but the desire to flourish without effort. They think their writing will be what they retire on. They’re young now, but if they keep writing, even though they’ve nothing to say, something will eventually stick. A garbage philosophy if you ask me. Perhaps it works for a handful, but that’s not the world I strive for, nor is it what I want readers to garner from my efforts.

The masochism mentioned before stems from that greed. Some people think what they have to say is so important that everyone will fall in love with it, but they have not sought out those who have already been there and are well on to the next steps. Some think that they just need to attach themselves to the next fad. What a society gains from such endeavors invigorates the pulse of perpetual narcissism.

Though this blog is small at the moment, it’s a landscape for something I believe in. It’s not new and it’s not world changing, but it’s mine…it’s ours. Why I write, the ideas I have, it’s an organization of thought. An orchestra of what-ifs where the piccolo and the drum are played by the same person. An orchestra where the conductor is the audience and the audience claps offbeat. I write to discover myself in the hopes that others will do the same in their writing and lives. I write to inspire.

So why bring up the summer? It is invigorating. Perhaps you need the drumming of rain or the darkness of snow to be inspired, but you can’t have that without the summer’s scorch and kiss. That juxtaposition in nature has an essence we strive to capture in our pieces. As Odysseus discovered, it is the times when we are most comfortable, when our needs are most fully met, that we fall victim to inaction and lose track of time’s passing. Experience the summer like no other season.

When you allow yourself to let the world take you, what you bring back is most important. And you must write about it. The morose who find meaning only in darkness do not know darkness. It is an ally to them because they’ve not sought an ally elsewhere. If they wish to know darkness, if they wish to let it overtake their minds and find those characters and thoughts that disrupt the flow of humankind, they must know the other side just as well. I wonder, and perhaps you have an answer, which is worse: to be born from darkness, learn light, then fall back to darkness; or to know only light and discover darkness, never to return?

Both sound terrible, and both can lead to a great story. It’s also worth noting that we’ve all succumb to this to some degree. We have our moments where we allow our thoughts to wander through the forest of our minds to edges we’ve buried in our subconscious. The burial was done as a means of protection, to preserve the body, but creatives have an urgency to know boundaries and make them platforms to build on. A dangerous game that is nothing short of masochism.

Though this entry was all over the place, I hope it has brought some inspiration. We all strive to be our best selves, and to do so involves some breaking down and rebuilding of things we hold sacred. Summer gives us something other seasons cannot. For better or worse, embrace it.

Once more unto the breach

I look forward to reading your masterpiece.

-Kyle Jacobson