Thursday, August 7, 2008

My writing challenge--every moment of my life.

I've liked to read ever since I could. Words and books hold a beautiful essence where I feel like I sometimes experience a truer reality than the one I live in. Literature captivates my mind, heart and soul, and I undoubtedly become a better person every time I read a novel, even a bad one.

When I was little, it was obvious to all the adults in my world that I loved to read and write. Some even suggested I become a reporter when I grow up but I shied away from that idea. Reporters dealt with news and facts, and talked to strangers constantly. I didn't like any of those things when I was little. I never thought years later, I would actually develop a passion for it all.

Within my first few days at journalism school in the beginning of my university career, I quickly learned I never knew how to write before. And quite frankly, I'm still not entirely sure if I do now. It's too early to tell but I think the thing is with writing is it's always too early to tell. But I've been given a foundation for this skill to make it into my own--at least when it comes to non-fiction and to reporting the news.

Because here's the challenge I face today. Inside, I have a constant urgency to write. I very rarely have a solid idea of what I want to write about, but I just know I'm always looking for that perfect sentence, that everlasting phrase, that transcendent moment of knowing I can create a deep feeling through these funny-looking but recognizable symbols we call letters. And while I love journalism and how it allows me to engage with the world in ways many people never get to experience, I will always revere fictional stories as the higher art form.

After learning I never knew how to write before the age of 18, I now know to write fiction is an entirely new branch of ability on its own. In journalism, when you write scenes, you are taught to observe and then proceed to expose the details of everything you saw, heard, touched, smelled and tasted. In novels, scenes are definitely extracted from the realities you are familiar with but there is so much more available than that because the imagination can stretch on forever.

So how do I contain that imagination? How do I mould it into a shape that makes sense to a reader? It's one thing to have an idea, but to have a structure and style that showcases the idea vividly is serious, stressful work. Reading makes me a better person but sometimes writing makes me feel like a lesser one. And I do it anyway... Because what you love doesn't always have to feel right.

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