Everything that surrounds us informs who we are.
We writers often talk about “writers block” as this thing that keeps us from coming to the page. I feel that what blocks us is that we are consumed. There are so many things that keep us from coming to the page. We are overloaded, overstimulated, and overstressed. It is rare when we can really sit with our thoughts and get it all onto the page. We are consumed by distractions and devastations. Some of us are dealing with mental illness, depression and substance abuse. Some of us are writing our traumas out of our bodies! As writers some of us are sifting through the residue of our past in order to move into the present and create works that make sense to us.
We write to help us come out of it! We write to make sense of it!
In preparing for the upcoming Writing from the Womb Workshop I went in search for writings from established writers about why THEY write…
I needed a reminder… I needed inspiration for myself.
I found an essay about George Orwell – On Writing and he talked a lot about his subjects having everything to do with the political climate of the time. As writers we create the worlds as we see it or would like to see it.
Orwell on Writing: (excerpts)
“I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.”
“And in fact my first completed novel, Burmese Days, which I wrote when I was thirty but projected much earlier, is rather that kind of book.”
“I give all this background information because I do not think one can assess a writer’s motives without knowing something of his early development. His subject matter will be determined by the age he lives in — at least this is true in tumultuous, revolutionary ages like our own — but before he ever begins to write he will have acquired an emotional attitude from which he will never completely escape.”
“The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention…”
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
WHY DO YOU WRITE?
I have asked myself this question hundreds of times over the past few weeks…
WHY DO I WRITE?
Orwell poses the idea that subject matter is determined by the age in which we live.
As I meditate on this I can’t help but reflect on my stages of development. Flashing before me I see the 70s, 80s, 90s and where I am today. I can see how all of my experiences as a woman are what most informs my work… my being a mother, a lesbian, a woman, a woman of color, my relationships, experiences, spiritual practice and my becoming a writer! I can see the ways I have created work that reflects the time I was and am living in. My work responds to the things that are happening to me and around me. My writing is also a response to the shit the pisses me off!
This is why I write…
Writing my memoir was about completing something significant for my daughter and gifting myself my very first published work at age 40.
Writing scripts for the documentary Afrolatinos: The Untaught Story was about re-claiming my history, celebrating, and embracing my culture and identity fully.
Writing scripts for a podcast show would push me to write a little faster, clearer, more direct and with more intention.
Writing the play I Was Born pushed me to unfamiliar territory that kept me up for days at a time.
Writing a feature film gave me confidence in my craft and story development. My abilities as a storyteller were only getting more proficient.
Now writing a TV pilot I see clearly the worlds I get to create and the characters I get to give life to.
This is why I write…
I write as a political response to the experiences that have most effected me. I write to tell people the truth about the stories and people that matter most to me. I write to express the emotions that some of us are afraid of expressing. I write to give voice to all that haunts, infuriates, and brings me tremendous peace, joy and love.
I CANNOT TEACH YOU HOW TO WRITE!
No one can teach us how to write!
What I can do is support you, push you and provide you with a space to write your stories and assist you with getting to the finish line!
Join me this Wednesday for a FREE WFW Workshop – (via conference call) to rsvp email: Findingyourforce@gmail.com
To register for the seven week Writing from the Womb Workshop email: email@example.com
WRITING FROM THE WOMB WORKSHOP
Is there someone you know who has a story they are trying to get birth to? Do you want to work on a piece for publication? Are you ready to just begin?
Writing from the Womb is a gentle cocoon… all writers are welcome. From emerging writers to accomplished. We all have something to learn and share.
There will also be an opportunity for writers to participate online (email me for more details).
To reserve your seat and for payment information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s theme: THE ART OF STORYTELLING!
WFW Workshop Dates:
October 21st free workshop – via conference call (RSVP @ email@example.com for dial in number) 7:30PM to 8:30PM
Venue: Columbia University
Sunday’s: 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Workshop begins Sunday, October 25th
Week 1: The Craft of Writing
Week 2: Write the Story
Week 3: What is at Stake?
Week 4: Voice/What are they really saying?
Week 5: The ReWrite / Workshop 1
Week 6: Workshop 2 and Submitting for Publication
Week 7: Getting to the End!
The workshop fee is $420 for seven weeks.
A non refundable deposit of $100 is due October 15th.
To make payment using PayPal use email: Alicia.firstname.lastname@example.org (to wave fee select send payment to friend)
Payment due in full by October 24th or at first class.
Looking so forward to seeing you all!