Updated: Sep 16, 2020
What is writing to you?
“Writing is my therapy!”
How many of us have been asked this question and how many of us have given this unfortunate answer!
Are you someone who sees writing as therapy? Then read on!
When I interviewed for my Master’s Programme in Creative Writing, my soon to be mentor who had taught writing for 22 years at Oxford and NYU asked me this very question.
My answer troubled her. Like a reflex she said:
"If you want to be a writer, you need to treat writing as more than your therapist, it should be a part of your identity, of your every day routine."
Over the two years of the course, I learnt the value of those words.
I learnt that this epidemic among us writers called Writer’s Block comes often due to the lack of a healthy relationship with our craft. A healthy relationship requires you to be together every day. You have to write every day, and before you do that you have to ask difficult questions. Questions like:
* What do I want to write about?
* What do I want to say about this subject by writing?
* Why would anyone read what I am saying?
* What is the best way to write about this subject?
Once you have clear answers to these questions, you can nail what we call "Structure". What this does is makes you more aware of what, why and how you are going to write something. Your thought becomes clearer and the block comes less often.
It isn't a process you do on a couch lying down with closed eyes, this is a constant practice to be done on your desk like any other profession.
How many times have we heard engineers say "fixing a chemical plant is my therapy"? or even a therapist say "meeting clients is my therapy"? It isn't. It is their work, their profession. A profession where they show up every day and not only when they are emotionally overwhelmed.
Yes, we write when we are emotionally overwhelmed. But we write at other times too. We write when inspiration is far far away, we write when words don't really come together. We write because there is a need to write inside us and also because we are paid for it.
When the craft comes before inspiration, you become a better writer. To demand more respect as a profession you must give more respect to the craft.
So what is writing to you?