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Thursday, 13 December 2012

#41: The Magic of Writing

Why do writers write? What is it, deep down inside, that compels us to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard day-after-day, and conjure up words of wit and wisdom that flow zen-like off the page or screen? Well...

Perhaps it’s an essential need to? An inxplicable compulsion to feed a weird, mystical yearning at our core? An all-consuming itch that we just have to scratch?

Make no bones about it, the process can be torture at times. Some days we’re fraught with fear and self-doubt and an all-consuming compulsion to do ANYTHING else but write. “What’s that? You need your replacement toilet plumbing? I’ll be right there!” “Sorry? You need someone to help you move? Like, physically rip your Tudor mansion from its earthy foundations and transport it by hand to Fiji? Call me!”

But still we MUST write. Just glue our bums to the seat and be there. Ready and waiting for the magic to happen. Because it will. Sooner or later. And when it does, Oh Mamma Mia.

When the words pour out of our minds, ride our red blood cells like a Ducati Superbike; then spurt out of our fingertips onto the screen or paper and set it alight, you’ll need a fire hose. Or more paper. But it’s also pretty damn flipping tastic. Like a regenerative lifeblood. Our kryptonite. Turns us into superheroes. Almost.

And the feeling of ‘having written’ is the greatest, whether or not you had to run through quick-sand in high heels to get there. Satisfying. Enriching. Empowering. What we were born to do. Write. Right? Like Springsteen strutting his stuff at the peak of his powers in that gruff but edgy organic atom-bomb of a voice: “Baby we were born to… WRITE.”

Life just seems to make sense again.

It’s this magic – like the golfer striving to replicate a flushed shot from the sweet-spot of his seven-iron that covers the flagstick all the way, before pitching a foot past the cup and spinning back into it – that fuels us; keeps us going through the dark times.

More than anything, I think writers need to write. It’s an essential requirement at the core of our being. Without it, we feel like there’s something missing.

But what if there’s nothing there? What if the well runs dry?” I hear you cry...

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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