I write constantly. All day long, there’s a narrator in my head, detailing my every action for my invisible readers.
She squinted in the mirror and pulled one eyelid taut. The brush quivered, as it always does, a second before touching skin, before drawing a precarious line across. She blinked. Too hard. A parallel line bloomed beneath it and she sighed, yanking open her dresser drawer and rustling for make-up remover.
OK, it isn’t very good. Gimme a break. My inner narrative is perpetually in first-draft.
I wonder if non-writers do this. I wonder if people who work in business, in math, in finance, wake up with numbers streaming from ear to ear. I wonder if musicians think in notes and scores. If artists dream in pictures without sound.
I wonder this, because I wonder if this is some sort of ego. If I’m impulsively, subconsciously creating a story of my life because I want to live a narrative, not just a randomized life. Because I think I believe, or I believe that I think or I know, somewhere beneath the part of me that thinks these things, that all lives are stories. That mine is as much a work of art as anyone else’s, and therefore should be recorded.
If only on the outdated, faulty software that is my brain.
People ask me, sometimes, how often I write. They ask me if I sit down to write for a certain number of hours each day, if I jot down sentences in notebooks when I should be doing other things, if I occasionally daydream plots in boring meetings or at the most inopportune times, like first dates and important dinners. I do all of these things, I tell them. I live the writer’s life to the point of neurosis, and then I think about whether the fact that I’m writing all the time, without even thinking about it, is some kind of sickness. The plague of the creative.
And then I wonder if it matters. And I decide it doesn’t. Because when you’re born doing something and you can’t stop doing it, in fact if the idea of stopping is as ludicrous as sticking your head underwater, taking a breath and expecting to sprout fins, you don’t question it.
You don’t quit what you’ve never thought not to do.
2 thoughts on “Writing on (writing on) writing without thinking”
The guy in this picture is trying to remember if he turned the oven off and if he should have eaten sushi for breakfast.
I can’t say that my inner monologue is always noticeable to me, but it definitely raises its voice every now and then (I’m a writer too). I find I write the most unthinkingly and creatively when I don’t worry about whether or not anyone’s going to read what I’ve written. That way I write the most naturally and shamelessly. My dad, Fred Lybrand teaches the same thing in his writing course (http://www.advanced-writing-resources.com), about learning by writing (without thinking or worrying). It’s taught me how to teach children to write (I’ve tutored others over the years), but most imporantly it’s taught me to break free of worrying what others will think.
I wish I had the plague of the creative like you do, though. I’ve written several book over recent years, but I can’t bring myself to write every single day. I’m not consistent enough. It’s something I’m still working on.