Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Am Buzzing

I woke up this morning and I wanted to write.  But there was work to do—flies to test, data to analyze, flies to collect, flies to flip into new fly homes.  All day, I was showered with ideas for blog posts—an article here, a reminder there.  All day long, that urge to write burned inside me, impatient, hungry, eager, sharp.  My unfinished blog post sat taunting me, begging me, “When are you going to finish me?”  And I had to keep saying, “Not yet, not yet.  I must work.  I must focus.  Eyes on the prize.”

That’s how writing is for me.  So rarely is my writing able to climb to the top of the to-do list that I feel somewhat like a fraud—do I dare call myself a writer?  Wouldn’t a real writer rise early in the morning to put words on a blank screen?  Meanwhile, I had a leisurely morning of oatmeal-eating and coffee-sipping, showering and readying myself for the day.  Why doesn’t my hunger for writing jolt me awake at 6 AM, demanding to be satiated?  It’s only after I’m caffeinated, commuted, and ready to start my work day that my mind zeroes in on the work that I am not paid to do, the work that remains a labor of love.  Certainly it’s not a stretch to call blogging work, right?  It takes dedication, effort, concentration, and sometimes research to produce content.

My writing is done in my free time or in stolen moments.  Sometimes I cannot ignore the hunger, and I sit myself down to pour words into sentences.  I wonder if I should spend more of my time on income-generating activities, but my hunger refuses to accept such nonsense.  In my heart of hearts, I remain convinced that this writing thing is planning a future for me, somehow.  On days like today when it takes me hours to finally sit down and write, my passion for words, ideas, learning, and connecting the dots burns bright and clear.  I am buzzing with the love of this craft, this blog, this way in which I myself feel transformed into lovely, lovely words.  I could float away on the wings of this crazy art that occupies so much of my waking life.

This evening, before leaving work, I received an e-mail from The Chronicle telling me that they were rejecting my piece.  I am weirdly elated by this news, as rejection is something that real writers get to experience!  I laugh and know that I am way too high on writing to be anything but delighted by rejection.  “I’ll just self-publish it,” I tell a friend.  And I will.

Because the joy in writing is not to be found in someone else’s approval of your words.  It is found in those buzzing, passionate moments when you float away on a cloud of ideas.  We write because we simply cannot help ourselves.  Timidity and fearfulness just will not do if our goal is to spin something from nothing, which is why it’s always easier to be the critic than it is to be the writer.  I consider myself very lucky that I get to do both, and this blog is the magic carpet ride that makes most of that possible.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

First of all, congratulations on your rejection! :)

Secondly, I really like this post. I also love/need to write, but agree that the urge doesn't always come at the most convenient times. I heard this quote once, and I've repeated it to my students. It goes something like this:

"I only write when inspiration strikes. I just make sure inspiration strikes every day at 8AM when I sit at my desk to write."

I should actually be writing right now. Better get back to it! :)

Rosiecat said...

Ha! Wouldn't that be terrific if all rejection letters started by saying, "Congratulations! You've been rejected!" Because really, they should. It takes courage to put yourself in a position to be rejected, and we should be celebrating that courage.

I love the quote! One of the things that I think is so cool about writing is that it's very flexible, as far as work goes. Earlier in my blogging career, I used to post once a week, usually Mondays, and that schedule gave me the discipline to sit down and write regularly. Now, I post more frequently but without a set schedule. I find that I don't need to schedule my posts because my writing ambitions are strong and healthy. Though admittedly, with blogging I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. For example, it feels like it took me forever to finish my vegan project, but it was satisfying to write all the posts I wanted to share.

I think the most important thing for me with blogging is to keep it fresh and fun. I feel bad for bloggers who feel that their blog or blogging can't grow with them because they have a particular niche and they feel trapped in it. I think that's why I like blogs with an emphasis on the blogger (rather than a topic) best :-)

Chrissy (The New Me) said...

I'm more laid back with my blogging schedule than I am with my creative writing. I need to have some outlet that is relaxed. Plus the instant gratification of hitting publish is nice, especially when I get so many rejections from other places. :)

And yes, I like the people behind the blogs, too! A kind person with a good personality will always keep me coming back.

Rosiecat said...

I completely agree with you! In fact, one of the reasons I finally felt compelled to start blogging is that I was writing my first scientific paper, and the endless revisions were making me crazy. I had been enjoying food blogs for a while, and I reached a tipping point where I wanted my own space to write, a space free from an outside editor who kept telling me that my work needed more work. Years later, I am much calmer about academic writing, but I still treasure having an easy writing outlet for the same reasons you do: the relaxed feel, the instant publishing gratification, and of course, the friendship and community.

You are my kindred writing spirit, Chrissy! I continue to be amazed by the similarities in our experiences in very different domains. I suppose it speaks to a certain universal quality in the human experience :-)