What we write about tells us who we are…

write

“What is the issue that is eating you up? What is the personal fear that you can’t resolve and you can’t tolerate? Are you getting old with fucking NOTHING to show for it? Then, write Invisible Monsters. Are you worried that your brain or talent isn’t capable of creating anything interesting or unique, and you’ll die and rot and be forgotten – failing everyone you love? Well, then write Diary. My point is, use the story to explore and exhaust an issue of your own. Otherwise, you’re just dicking around, playing “let’s pretend.” If you can be ruthless and honest about your own fear, you express something that other people can’t express. You can resolve your own anxiety – through research, discussion, experiment – and that freedom is what brings you back to writing.

What could you never talk about in a million years? Then, write about that.” – Chuck Palahniuk

I always find it funny when people tell me that in order to be a writer you need a vivid imagination. Or drugs. Or both. But the truth is that you don’t.
Then there’s this simple question: Why do we write? And why do we feel at times that only the written word can express our deepest fears and emotions, our love and pain and hatred; basically everything we can’t speak out loud.
Truth be told, writing is a liberating experience. It’s like shouting in a crowded place. It’s a way of attracting attention.
In real life, I don’t really like to tackle philosophical issues very often. Actually, I don’t like to talk too much about life, love, and other important issues such as the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living. More so, I usually make fun of those issues.
Why do I do that?
Maybe because I’m shy, and that’s why I’m a writer in the first place. Or maybe because I know that the written word has a better chance of surviving the cruel passage of time. I’m not sure, but I know that most of the times, in real life, I do my best to act as shallow as possible. Serious conversations kind of bore me.
I just listen. I smile and nod and act like I’m interested in what everyone’s saying, and then I go home. I go home and  write. That’s when everything changes. Because I write about what I love or loved once, about what I hate, what I’m afraid of, what I’d like to see changed in this world. I write about ambition and passion and courage and pain, and there’s nothing for me to be afraid of.
Not the people I shamelessly turn into characters, not the real tragedies that I turn into stories… because the same thing I do to myself. Every experience, every kiss, every heartbeat gets dissected countless times. Some of them find their way into my stories. And that’s a very painful process.
A lot of writers out there, if asked, will say that writing isn’t easy. But it’s not because of the rules you have to obey, or the conventions, or the need for a vivid imagination. Writing isn’t easy because you have to relive the most painful moments of your life, over and over again, and then you have to write them down, hoping that they’ll matter to someone else other than yourself.
***
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39 comments on “What we write about tells us who we are…

  1. What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom. Lets write about these two subjects more and less about all the other stuff.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  2. jankurdt says:

    i can definitely relate to everything you just said, most especially the shy part. because i’m shy as hell. i find it difficult to express my deeper thoughts verbally. but writing sure is a form of release for me. i write for myself.

  3. I like you, Cristian Mihai!

  4. Sue says:

    Yes, yes, yes. A thousand times yes.

  5. There is writing about subjects and letting the subjects drive your writing. I find that my writing works much better in the latter form.

  6. under-my-quilt says:

    Fantastic piece of writing, you have encouraged me to keep blogging by reading this,ten out of ten ! :)

  7. Love this post. Isn’t it awesome being a writer?

  8. Yes! I haven’t really thought about “why” I have started a blog, beyond knowing I felt a need in me, to get it out, and express it, even if only four people read it. And yes, you’re right, it is the issue one is grappling with, the thing you wouldn’t talk about in a million years…am very much enjoying your blog!

    • Danielle says:

      That’s about exactly what I was going to say. I write because I don’t know how else to express some things inside. I use my blog to play with different styles, have a story running through it based on real experiences, have a character based on a real person who is too evil to fit into my current story (that was liberating) write poetry or something that passes for poetry anyway and only later do I understand the meaning of what I wrote. I write to get it out or figure it out. I write for me. And I guess that has attracted a few readers, for which I am grateful. They help me keep writing. I did think about why and what you said is exactly why I started my blog. Why the need to share? That I don’t quite understand because I do nothing to promote my blog and I am grateful for the readers I picked up somehow. Writing without sharing just doesn’t do the same thing for me. Even if no one reads it, sharing is part of the process.

  9. rumadak says:

    Inspiring Post!
    I have so many thoughts about which I want to write but as anonymously. Have been thinking about it since long. Will do it soon as I am sure it will make me feel better. As you rightly said:
    “and then you have to write them down, hoping that they’ll matter to someone else other than yourself.”

  10. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Cristian,

    You are right…writing gives us freedom, we can talk as long as we can and without any interruptions, without any fears of getting bullied if others don’t like our thoughts and the imagination ignites itself as soon as we start writing! so keep it up! I like your blog. I am glad to have found it. Thanks!

  11. InfoJunkie says:

    It is a wonderful feeling when you find out that someone else feels exactly what you’ve been feeling. You realize that you’re not crazy, that you’re not weird, that there *are* others out there who understands you because they feel the same way.

    Thank you for posting this!

  12. tympass999 says:

    true,
    everytime i begin with writing , i try to get away from it .

    its too hard to keep away from getting disturbed by those memories.

    stuck with the third chapter since july,
    :-( ;-)

  13. Yes, I agree. What we would never talk about in a million years, all we have to do is get that down on paper and we have the story we were supposed to tell. It may only have a few words but those are the words we need to write.

  14. Franci says:

    Its impressive how i relate to what you just articulated

  15. The Overlord Bear says:

    Now that I think about it, experience and willpower are important in writing, alright.

  16. funsizedmod says:

    “Writing isn’t easy because you have to relive the most painful moments of your life, over and over again, and then you have to write them down, hoping that they’ll matter to someone else other than yourself.” So true! I just wrote about my history battling with acne and I can so resonate with this line. Writing it was painful, but how different it was once in the written word.

  17. VICTORIA SIARRA says:

    Brilliant as usual! :)

  18. But you don’t only have to relive the most painful moments of your life through writing – you can also relive the most joyous. Passion of any kind fuels great writing, not just the passion driven by negative emotions.

    • Danielle says:

      That is so true. The last thing I wrote was about how two seemingly dichotomous words, rage and courage, got intertwined in me. One has a negative connotation, the other a positive. But I found a relationship deeper than the obvious 3 letter difference. Sometimes reliving the most painful moments of your life includes reliving the most joyous and vice versa. I think the best writing is writing the conveys real feelings, including joy. And you can tell when real feelings are driving what is written. I’m not sure how, but you can tell.

  19. It’s definitely a lot safer to write than to speak. I’ve never been one for the public light, but as I get older I feel more bold in sharing and expressing myself.

  20. Danielle says:

    This is so true. I have written things and come back to them later and found significance in the insignificant things, maybe words I chose to rhyme with something, descriptions I’ve added to the key points in my piece to make it more interesting, little things around what I wanted to say. I’ve learned so much about myself from that. Writing for discovery, exploration, expression… that’s the best kind. One of my favorite things I’ve written was based on real events but I wanted to make the reader feel what I felt and I know I succeeded with at least one reader and that was extremely gratifying to be able to find the words to do that in a fantasy world I had created. Without purpose, you gain nothing from writing.

  21. pmahaney says:

    It is all true, and then some.

  22. thatssocheska says:

    Too true. Couldn’t have said it any better ;)

  23. Another inspiring post…for someone who could really use the motivation — me. Thanks for writing this.

  24. an0nymuss says:

    This blogs surely brings the best reasons why people start writing what they can’t express. Every sentence echoed and I can very well relate to each and every word said, kudos to you. Thanks for writing.

  25. rathornberry says:

    yes, and yes! thank you for articulating why i write. well said.

  26. Heba Amr says:

    Well written.. well expressed..

  27. kristosfineart says:

    Great blog.

  28. ghostposts says:

    I write because I have to.
    I do notice a few things. Writing can act as a catharsis or a fun walk down memory lane, and in many instances a scene I have planned is easier or harder because I’ve lived through something similar. This also adds a touch of depth and a bit of realism to the scene.

  29. Scott says:

    Many thanks for this blog you’ve written. I, too, am compelled to write. I’ve kept a daily journal for more than 25 years, I’ve published a host of short stories and articles over the past 40. The blog, for me, is a unique vehicle for what I have to say. It offers me instant gratification. But in the end I write for my own pleasure. Sometimes someone else likes what I have to say. When that happens it’s a home run.

  30. Scott says:

    Thank you for your blog. We all have reasons for why we write. Although I’ve published many short stories and articles during the past 40 years I’m compelled to write for my own pleasure.

  31. ernestwhile says:

    Home run. Thanks for the quote at the top, too. Really helped today.

  32. jnitro519 says:

    I write for myself. not to please any others but to satisfy my cravings for expression, of truer feelings, of sentimental anecdotes. I write because i want to not i have to. i write hoping others will feel me.

  33. sotefj says:

    What we write about tells us who we are… unless it is always in response to what someone else writes.

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