Recently, I was interviewed about my writing. One of the questions focused on my writing environment and when and where I was inspired to write.
When I was much younger, I forced myself to write. That’s right. Forced. I’d take out a piece of paper and pen and lay them out on a desk in front of me, or I’d sit perched over my typewriter, waiting for an idea to come to me. Sometimes, I waited a long time. Usually, I’d come up with nothing.
I did this because I had read about famous writers saying, “You must write everyday!” or that if you just started doodling or writing random thoughts, a great idea would emerge from this.
Every time I forced myself to write, the writing would resemble exactly that: forced. Lacking imagination; one-dimensional.
I’m not against other writers forcing themselves to write. It just doesn’t work for me.
As I got older, I let the ideas come to me. As all writers know (As all artists know, for that matter), an inspiration might come in the middle of the night or in a restaurant or on an airplane.
One of the interview questions asked where I write best and I said, “Outdoors in a foreign country.” However, now when I sit down to write (Always in pen first, then on a laptop), I have already formulated the idea for the short story or poem or novel. I still have to sit at times, perplexed, but not because I have no idea for my theme. It is usually because I have to think of my characters’ traits or how to make a sentence stand out.
I never do start writing until the idea has been fixed in my brain.
On a side note, I recently had an interview for a grade 6 teaching position. One of the last comments asked of me was, “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?”
I mentioned that I had self-published a children’s book, probably aimed at children at the grade 6 level. I said I would never promote it in class: this would be unprofessional. But it would be good for the students to know that I was on their level when it comes to writing rough drafts and then revising. It’s a long, at times, tedious cycle.
I thought I did excellently in the interview but, alas, did not get the job.
Perhaps I was too ebullient about my writing. And to get some kind of ebullience from me takes awhile.