Just figuring it out one word at a time

I guess every writer knows the Flannery O’Connor quote: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Other variations are attributed to other writers, but the meaning is the same. We write to figure out life in general and ourselves in particular.

lifeI don’t write memoir. The events of my life are not revealed in my fiction. Yet every second I’ve lived is recorded in my brain, and it’s with that same brain I conjure up the stories I write, so what I think must be revealed in what I write. Right?

So should I feel inadequate for not writing something deeper, something of substance? Won’t I be judged shallow or even less intelligent than those who write great literary truths? Should I be shamed for aspiring to take up space on someone’s shelf or e-reader? Do I even dare consider myself a real writer?

No. Probably. No. Heck yes!

While all the great literary minds are writing and discussing the deep truths, the lofty ideals, the matters of substance I’ll write about the fundamentals of being human. I’ll write about ordinary people and how they make it through this thing we call life—or don’t.

That’s honest work, don’t you think?

elle

14 thoughts on “Just figuring it out one word at a time

  1. Great thoughts, Linda! I recently heard a great podcast about the very same topic on “I Should Be Writing” by Mur Lafferty. We absolutely need all kinds of writing for all kinds of purposes. So, onward and upward, fellow word lover! 🙂

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  2. Literature is an immensely wide field and so there is room for all kinds of writing. Writing from the heart about ordinary things and everyday people is my personal favorite. And by writing and reading about the “fundamentals of being human” as you put it, we discover that ordinary life is rich and meaningful. So, yes, it’s more than worth it.
    Christa

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  3. Yes, my dear friend. It absolutely is! Every time I read Pat Conroy I think I should quit and never write another sentence. Yet, we can’t compare what we do to others. All we can do is tell our stories. *hugs*

    -Jimmy

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  4. It’s all good. 😀 There’s a story for every purpose and a reader for every story. No single cause, belief, story, or need is any greater than any other and that includes the need of the author to write as well as the need of the reader to read. So I agree with every statement above. Writers must write what writers must write and readers must read what readers must read. Without this diversity in the writer / reader relationship the intrinsic fascination to explore both worlds from these varying perspectives would have been lost long ago and with it the multitudes of fascinating fictional places, people, and ideas about the nature of “what is” that have spawned from such a vast, yet communal, exploration.

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  5. We’re all ordinary, even the great writers. It’s what we do with our words that makes us great writers. And you’re a great writer!

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