Why We Write

Why do I write? Because I can’t stop writing. It’s simply part of me.

Like many of us, creativity and self-expression are fundamental to who we are — we’ve been listening to and telling stories from way back. In my case, since I was in kindergarten.

We aren’t the only ones who sees a story as essential. Freud saw it as central to human experience and as the means of healing wounded psyches.

Jung saw it as a way of dipping into the collective unconscious, the stream of experience that underlies all of history and humanity.

So, if creativity is so fundamental to our being, what makes it so hard sometimes to write what we see in our minds?

Sometimes life gets in the way. And sometimes we get in our own way by not understanding that there are stages to the process, which, like any other natural stages, cannot be hurried or one put before the other.

I understand both ways of slowing down the process. I have also learned about the way writing works: It’s an organic process that resembles the stages of butterfly development.

The way I think about this now is a ‘model.’ In the cycle of change model, people go through predictable stages of change much like a butterfly does.

Our natural tendency when writing is to push when we should be resting and to resist the difficulty when the process calls for discipline.

I find when I’m writing I forget to eat I’m so focused on what I’m writing. I forget to get something to drink. I forget everything, mainly because writing requires concentration. Without focus or concentration, you’ll be distracted by your spouse, your kids, your job or just the fact that you haven’t made dinner or cleaned the bathroom.

Sue Powers has an array of publishing credits, among them Saturday Evening Post, New Millennium Writings and Another Chicago Story. She’s the recipient of a fellowship & grant from the Illinois Arts Council in Prose and two of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She works part-time for the Association of Legal Administrators.

Who’s Minding Your Wild Mind?

Who's Minding Your Wild Mind

George Takei says: “It is in those moments when our minds are clutter-free that true inspiration awakens.”

True inspiration:  If you create… if you’re an artist, a poet, a photographer, a programmer, a composer, a musician, etc… you know true inspiration is instinctual, intuitive, primeval; it’s what Freud called the unconscious, what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious, and what writers and others call Wild Mind.

I sometimes think of Wild Mind as sort of an un-state of mind. I know I’ve reached this state when my first drafts basically write themselves. And there’s the rub: the story ideas roaming around inside my cluttered conscious mind usually go nowhere.

Good Story Ideas I’ll (probably) never write:

Shaky Road – An unhappy couple take a long road trip.

Idea Guy – Sort of ironic, eh?

Scenes From an Apartment – Can’t remember (:

Below are some of the stories that came from – or at some point were taken over by – my cluttered conscious mind where my idea of the story took the reins, making sure the story followed what I thought/wanted it to be.

I’ve already written and rewritten these stories many times, and they still don’t work.

Stories from Good Ideas That Still Don’t Work:

Madison’s Absence – A man’s out of body experience.

We’re Not Them – A pregnant woman’s paranoia her baby will be born mentally ill.

How She Will Live – A cautious woman who finds herself single and suddenly in lust.

Bottom line, I’ve learned it’s okay to get your conscious mind (where you inner editor lives) involved when you’re critiquing your creation and when you’re re-working it. And let’s face it, we could all use a good editor!

But hard knocks have taught me that your first draft/sketch/form should come from your instinctive, intuitive Wild Mind, the seat of your originality.

Your inner editor might not like it, but your creations definitely will. But enough about me. How do you get to your Wild Mind? Music? A photo? Meditation? Doodling?