Writing is a calling, a beckon of the voice within to be written. Author Unknown
A friend and I were discussing the sometime tragic lives of writers or more properly the tragic end of life for writers. She was asking me why so many succumbed to addictions or suicide.
I don’t think the act of writing is a formula for tragedy. Writing doesn’t break people; broken people are drawn, almost compelled, to write. Writers have voices whispering, shouting, and screaming inside their head, and as the popular meme goes, sometimes they have some pretty good ideas.
The process of getting the voices to speak can be an addiction all its own. I see it in me at times. Give me a glass or two of wine and this quite man can become quite glib. The same thing happens with writing so there has to be an internal policeman who says, “Stop!” When that voice is silenced for the sake of all the others vying for attention…that is the prescription for tragedy.
Many of my friends advise me to “let go” of things and emotions, especially negative ones. I think that’s sound advise for most people. It is creative death for writers. We must have those negative emotions, the heartbreak, the tragedy, the pain on call for our characters to live.
I am writing a very evil character with, shall we say, some very twisted, amoral practices. To write him, in a real, convincing fashion, I must become him if only for a few hours. That’s easy for me to do… I have only to draw on the innate, negative side of humanity. To undo it again is not always easy.
Perhaps, someone might ask, “Why become a writer at all?” I’m not sure writers always have a choice. How do you read the title of this post with that apostrophe “S”? Is it the calling that belongs to God or is it God is calling?
If it belongs to God, and is shared with me, how shall I maintain a peaceful relationship with God by ignoring the divine gift that I have been given. On the other hand, if writing is God calling, the voices are echoes of the divine and, like Jeremiah, attempting to hold them in is like a fire shut up in the bones… it really can’t be done for long.
Or as all my Facebook friends can attest, I cannot do that for long. I do not envision a tragic end… but who does? As long as I have a network of caring friends who do not tolerate extended silences in my writing, I feel safe to practice my calling with passion.