I received this quote as a writing prompt in AP English today, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I love everything about it, because to me, it encapsulates everything about being a writer. This is what we need to strive for. You don’t want to write heavy, difficult prose that rings distantly of Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein.
No, rather, you want to make your writing seem effortless, as if you wrote it on a Sunday afternoon, or over a long, lazy weekend. Even if it took you years- even if you cried and screamed and pulled your hair out- the audience shouldn’t see. They should read it and be inspired and think that they, too, can do it. Because they can. Whether they know it or not, they are just as capable as the rest of us.
I can’t remember the last time I found writing to be effortless. The inspiration comes easily when I don’t want it, but the moment I have nothing to write-it’s gone. Inspiration is a clever thing; it creeps into our thoughts and taints the things we see and strives to spark a flame. Many times, we don’t write it down, and it drifts away. It’s a terrible thing, wasted inspiration.
I have moments, I suppose, when I do, say, or write something, and it really makes me feel like a writer. I feel like a liar, like a cheater, when I call myself a writer and haven’t written in weeks. But I do have my moments. Moments when I wake up with an idea running through my head that won’t quit until I write it down, moments when I’m suddenly inspired and drop everything that I’m doing, moments when I finished a chapter or revise a short story, moments when I drink my coffee and stay up all night because I can’t rest until I’ve seen a story through. Those are the moments that I live for. It’s moments like those that make everything worth it. All of the lost sleep, the ignored homework assignments, the cramps in my hands from writing. Everything.
So, I suppose I’m saying to pour everything that you can into your writing. Blood, sweat, and tears, as the saying goes. You want your writing to be something accessible, something that people can read without reaching for the dictionary or chucking it across the room in frustration. You want your audience to be able to open your book and step inside and feel like they belong. You want your book to be personable and inviting, not cold and distant. What good are beautiful sentences if they cannot be comprehended?
Or so I think. But what do I know? I’m just a high school student.