You either write or live

This is something Jonathan Fisher says in The Writer. In certain ways, this particular statement holds a lot of truth. You have to take a step back, see things for what they are, and then write about them. You have to become an observer, you have to put your life on hold. You have to spend a lot of time inside your head, a lot of time all by yourself, in your living room, scribbling down one word after another.

Simply put, writing is a solitary job. And the inexorable truth is that solitude transforms you. When you sit down at your desk, you’re on your own.

There’s only one question that matters: are you willing to pay the price?

Are you willing to become a shadow?

I’m just now realizing how much I want to live. You know, to see the world, to do stuff. How much I need to fall in love. I spent a lot of time just writing. Because, to be honest, there wasn’t anything else for me to do. It’s sad, I know, but it’s the truth.

If writing were as simple as putting pen to paper, we’d have lots of brilliant writers. But it’s not as easy as it seems. It’s not just about perseverance and hard work, about dedication and ambition. It’s not about some x-factor, impossible to define. Some God-given gift.

“The more you write, the less you feel alive,” says Jonathan Fisher.

This is something few people really talk about. It doesn’t help you sell books, it doesn’t inspire you to write more. Or better.

Of course, some would say that you need to find a balance, between work and life, just like any other job. But the point is that you spend a lot of time being a writer, far more than you spend writing. You create stories, play around in a world that doesn’t exist. While driving, while in the bus, in the shower, while cooking, you get ideas. You write inside your head… you think about this or that plot twist.

Or sometimes something happens. You see something, you hear something… and time stops. The world freezes just so you can analyze and understand what’s going on. A moment so powerful, rich, filled with inspiration, that you don’t want it to stop.

And you spend a lot of time, long after the moment has dissipated, replaying it, over and over again, wondering about what exactly resonated with you on such a deep level. What is it that makes this moment so special?

Rarely you get a chance to intervene. To do something other than observe. For you, it’s enough just to witness, to be there.

Just alive enough so you can see and hear and smell the world around you, but never quite alive enough to actually live.

There are those who won’t agree with me. Or Jonathan Fisher. And I respect that. So, all I ask is that you respect this opinion. My opinion.

“You either write or live. And every writer is bound to find that out someday.”

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9 comments on “You either write or live

  1. Zineb says:

    This will take a while to sink in but I’m so glad that I got to read it. Thank you for sharing.

  2. evanyambu says:

    i wanna live too

  3. ich lese says:

    What I am wondering is how you’re reconciling wanting to write down your experiences without giving too much away form other people’s lives. I have all these ideas but I am afraid it’ll hurt someone’s feeling or reveal something people feel uncomfortable being out in the open.

  4. Soban says:

    So True but .. ( And you are entitled to your opinion, Cristian) .. there is a threshold of writing… beyond which the wings of imagination begin to wither and fade … a writer should not be forced to write and the writing should not be forced by the writer. It needs to be allowed to flow in its natural course of action … (again, you are entitled to your opinion) … but at times writing itself is the thing that gets you to live…

  5. Suaylia says:

    Wow! How poignant so deep Cristian! I never thought that writers would feel so dead, I thought they would be more alive actually more and more the more they write.

  6. Fedora says:

    Mine is quite the opposite. Either I write or I die. Writing is that crucial to my existence. It becomes my way to balance things in my life to dispense things that could bother me, to celebrate the victories and to overcome life’s challenges.

    Yes I too can get lost in my mind and it has costs me relationships because I want to stay to myself, in my mind and allow the words to take over. I do less talking than writing.

    I respect your opinion and enjoyed the post.

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