Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guest Post: Why I Like To Write by L B Gschwandtner

Please help me welcome author L. B. Gschwandtner to My Reading Room today.  L.B. is the author of the book, The Naked Gardener which I will be reviewing soon and I will also be interviewing L.B. tomorrow so please check back then as well.

Why I Like To Write by L B Gschwandtner

At some point every day there comes a time when my mind feels muddy, as if I’ve been asleep and awakened in a strange room. I feel a little disoriented, not quite confused, but unclear. Thoughts don’t seem tethered to a goal or action and when I become aware of this state of mind, I know it’s time to sit down and write.

So, at first, writing is a way of reestablishing clarity. Which is odd because, as any writer will tell you, clarity is the last result of the writing process. If you’re the kind of writer who plots, that represents a kind of clarity. But just because you have a general idea of where your work of fiction is going does not lead you straight to clarity. You take a lot of detours along the way.

And that’s the second reason I like writing. The detours. The writing process not only allows detours, it demands them. During the detours, you discover what you’re thinking as you unlock layer upon layer of admissions, questions, relationships, feelings, illogical leaps, and mental puzzles. By letting all these tumble out onto a page, you begin to sense the story you’re trying to tell.

And that’s the third reason I like writing. Telling a story. What a complex event is a story. So many elements. You have the characters. You have what each of them wants, or think they want. You have the obstacles to them getting what they want. And you have the underlying theme that, through your characters, your story is exploring. If you’ve read any of the great works of literature, you may not spot the theme right away but it’s there. Or it may be stated right up front. “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” The theme is the human condition at any given time and for all times. The French Revolution was just the backdrop.

And that brings us back to clarity. Once you have a plot, you know your characters, you’ve established a setting, and you have developed your theme, the writing can take off.

And that’s the final reason I like writing. That time when you can just go with it, let it loose, let your fingers tap away at the keyboard. You won’t keep everything. You’ll probably rewrite many times. But in that process there is magic. And when that happens, the fuzzy, unclear, lost in space feeling leaves and you feel as if you’ve been lifted off the ground and you can fly as well as any bird. It’s a great feeling. That’s why I like writing.