The Writing Life

04 February 2012

It seems to me that we as writers see the world much differently than most. Every little sigh, every step, every fleeting thought is analyzed for a possible story. Overheard snippets of tune could become the backdrop of a masked ball; a friend's sigh could lead one to write a long and melancholy monologue; a crack in the sidewalk brings back a tidal wave of memories and the idea for yet another book.

Writers often live double lives. There is the life of the person, which consists of schoolwork, tasks, and other mundane and usual activities. And then there is the life of the artist inside; the artist who cares not a bit for food or sleep, only to unburden herself through the flowings of her pen. The artist lacks the common sense of the person, and she feels much more at home seated at a desk with either pen and ink or an open Microsoft Office Word document before her, as opposed to the person who prizes fellowship and conversation. The person enjoys her companions; the artist analyzes their every slight glance, every guarded sigh. It is as if we are constantly taking notes on how to be better writers, how to better capture that elusive moment on the page . . . and in essence, we are. 

It's hard for someone who does not write to understand the emotion that comes over us when we finish a perfect scene, a realistic description, a page-turning chapter. They do not feel the burden on our shoulders when a scene is living itself out in our head and simply must be written down. They never hear the anguished pleas of characters who rarely have good timing for their complaints. They cannot believe we would gain so much pleasure in simple words written on a page. What is there to like about writing? they ask us. Why would you want to bother writing everything down, when it happens every day?

It's because we seek to understand things. Rather than accepting everything in the world as it is, we tirelessly try to make sense of life's deepest questions. We struggle over every line. We attempt to capture the essence of human nature in our books so that readers will say, I thought I was the only one . . . We want to understand life.

And so, we write. 

8 epistles:

  1. This was lovely. I agree, it often feels like I live a double life. Although it's worth it to bring a story to life on paper =) (or screen)

    By the way, I assume that to email you my entry for the writing contest, I must click on the "Write Me" button. It's not doing anything when I click on it, but that's probably just my computer. Could you please email me, so that I have your address, and can send you my entry? My email is Thanks!

  2. This is so true! Often I catch myself trying to analyze and remember certain expressions or a look on a friend's face, a witty remark from my older sister, or little items that can hold so much for one's imagination later used for my writing.

    You wrote that beautifully, Elizabeth, thanks for sharing. I had to smile when I read this, "I thought I was the only one . . ." because that was what I was thinking while reading the whole post!

    Blessings in Christ,
    ~Joy @

  3. I LOVE this post, Elizabeth!! You summed it up perfectly. Thanks for posting!! =D

  4. You know, this post is so right. I feel like that all the time. Whenever something happens, I'm like, oh wow, I could use that!

    Thanks you for writing this post; it is so lovely to have someone else who thinks the same way I do about this thing.


  5. Perfect Lizzy. Just perfect. :)

  6. I know it isn't good blogging etiquette to comment on posts that are more than a few months old, but I simply had to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. There's nothing quite like that little rush you get when you find a person who thinks the same thoughts as you, but has the talent to express them the way they deserve to be heard. :-)


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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