Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writing - A Powerful Teacher

Been reading this book called 'Bird by Bird' by Anne Lamott for the first time. (I know. I'm in my twenties, a writer, and I've never read Bird by Bird. I'm basically a disgrace.) I came across this quote that I liked quite a bit.

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

Anne Lamott, quoting E. L. Doctorow, Bird by Bird, page 18

I agree with that quote. Especially since I'm a discovery writer. :) When I write my novels, it's like driving a car at night with only the vaguest idea where I'm going. Scary as heck, but quite the adventure.

It occurred to me this evening, when I was pondering a few things about life, that this lovely quote on writing is also a great metaphor for life. (No duh, Joseph. Anne Lamott said that right after she quoted E.L. Doctorow.)

Since when has anybody ever been able to see more than a few steps in front of them? Since, like, never. Frustrating, yes. I want to see further. I mean, for pete's sake, wouldn't anybody? Wouldn't we like to see what will happen if we do this thing, date this person, take this or that path, say these or those things? I sure would.

But life isn't designed that way. And... I think it's for the best.

There are a million things that writing can teach us about life. I think that's one of the reasons I am a writer - because writing is such a powerful teacher, and I love learning.

What has writing taught you about life? Or about anything, for that matter?

Joseph Ramirez


Scott said...

It's taught me a lot about myself. Writing is hard work. It doesn't matter whether I'm writing a story, a poem, or a novel, there are so many points in the process where I could give up because it's hard, or because I don't feel good enough, or for any of dozens of other reasons.

Seems sometimes like everybody says, at one time or another, that they are going to write a novel. Of those who start, very few finish a first draft. And few of those stick it out through months or years of revision to get it just right. Those who do deserve praise, whether it ever gets published or not doesn't really matter. And that includes me.

So, no matter how many doubts I have about myself during the process, that I have shown I can stick with it and give it my best should make me feel pretty good. And it does, unless I'm back in the writing process, going through the struggles again.

Joseph Ramirez said...

I love that. Sticking through to the end gives us something, doesn't it?