A guest post by Brian Edward Malnes
Writing is hard work. The craft involves loneliness and uncertainty. Rejection is part of growth in this tricky business called writing. What’s more, every word written is constantly under revision. And yet, I am writing now, hoping to share one or two thoughts about the art of word.
Writing is everything. That is, everything we know is, or was once, written down. The word is the basic building block of every human emotion. Sentences combine words to articulate thoughts, to breathe life into the mundane environs—bringing clarity, richness, and heart. This is massive, and yet through economy and practice every one of us can turn words into the sum of all things.
Writing is creation. It is putting words on paper to communicate ideas. Naturally, the first thing to do is have an idea. But not just that, one must gather the courage to divulge what is hidden within themselves. Whether it is fiction or poetry, non-fiction or journalism, the writer is a part of everything they create. So, it is frightening to separate what is inside, what is personal, with the rest of the world. I must remind myself that perfection is an impossibility that only resides in my mind. I am writing to socialize with the world. Nothing I write will be perfect, which is great because nothing in the world is perfect either.
Writing is a bridge. The bridge is between the author and the audience. Knowing who the audience is establishes the nature of the writing itself. Who will be reading the words? Diaries and journals are excellent tools to communicate with one’s self. However, the difference between typing and writing is found when an audience is acknowledged. I must tell myself that what I am doing is not secret and will/must be shared. Thus, I take my first step across the bridge. I rejoice in the fact that I am sharing with the world—I am a writer who is writing.
Writing is honest, or it is not. Naturally it is not the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Instead, good writing communicates the truth of the human condition essential truth that enables the reader to suspend disbelief. One of the best methods of conveying truth is via dialog. Good dialog centers the readers. Free moving, natural discourse allows characters to truly exist. And if your characters exist, then there is a truth that creates a positive rhetorical argument in support of one’s writing.
Writing is human. Does your character smell things? Can the reader taste the toothpaste in your character’s mouth? Think about all the things that make us human beings; the little pains and annoyances, Santa’s bell incessantly ringing, or the olfactory awakening as the wind changes, wafting the smells of the turkey slaughterhouse next door. Every moment something is happening, just as every moment a heart is beating, an eye blinks.
Writing is…something different to everyone. There is no template for the great American novel, and thank goodness for that. I wake up everyday knowing I am a writer who is writing. The goal is to write more, to share more, to read more. Writing is my life, and I can say its been worth every page.
Brian Edward Malnes is currently finishing his PhD in English at the University of Louisiana @ Lafayette. His writing spans several genres to include being a reporter for the Denver Post, editor for several literary magazines to include, The Progenitor and Thin Air, and author of the book of poetry Seven Years’ Bad Luck. Malnes’ work has appeared in numerous literary journals to include most recently Danse Macabre and The Portland Review.
This was so well said. I feel we all knew this subconsciously but Brian had the forethought and ability to express it for all of us. Thanks. ~Ann