When I looked up the dictionary definition of writing, I had half-expected to find a definition that will blow my mind while brow-beating me into thinking of writing as more than just an act of putting ink on paper, but really “Writing is just the activity of creating pieces of written work”. Anyway, after I got over the heartbreak of discovering that Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary doesn’t see writing like I do, I sought out to define writing as a means to me and I concluded with this;
“Writing is, in its entirety, an act of creating the magic that is your unique contribution to the growth of our existence.”
Much better ehn?
This definition does give writing more meaning, at least that’s what I think and it will help me tackle the next misconception. I have friends and acquaintances that make random comments on how they wish they could write “well” and the defensive voice in my head usually goes, “anybody can write, really’ (in one kind British accent like that). Maybe what they subconsciously mean when they make this comment is that they wish they could write ‘great’ pieces because let’s face it, its human nature to strive towards perfection (though some people fall on either extreme of the perfection scale). So we can earnestly conclude that the fear of imperfection is what prompts most of these people into assuming that writing is not their ‘thing’. Contributing your unique magic to the growth of human existence does not have to come in form of literary pieces, poems or plays. The world has seen a great number of scientists, philosophers, social scientists and just anyone whose written thoughts helped improved our own existence a great deal. It does not have to be perfect neither do you have to publish it or show the world. Generation and generation of humans will come across those pieces you’ve written and decided not show the world because ‘they weren’t perfect’
These coming generations will go through phases they would think of as alien or new till they come across your thoughts on paper and their hearts will leap forward because they found themselves in history. I assure you, it doesn’t have to be fiction or thought-provoking poems. You can write down the fantasies you nurse and the scenes from your future that you have laid out in your head. Heck! You don’t even need a diary. Write down the words the way you understand them when your chemistry lecturer dictates to you one complex experiment historically carried out by a weird man or woman. A certain teenager might find solace in the fact that you had funny and crazy fights with your friends during which you felt terrible, if you just write them down somewhere. It isn’t really far fetched, the idea that maybe a paragraph you wrote down out of habit will help someone find the cure to a great many diseases that plague the world. Imagine if Newton hadn’t written out his theory on motion, we would have been without foundations on which to lay our present knowledge. Doubtless, Newton’s theories had some rules which further findings have debunked but nobody can take away the fact that he is the father of motions. Have I sold out the idea of contributing unique magic yet?
Not forgetting weird writers (like myself) who find it difficult to pick up a pen until they’ve perfected an idea in their heads, perfection will not come from trying to perfect ideas in your head!!! The whole idea behind sunrise and sunset is that the sun will never rise and then go ‘down’. it will rise and then set and then rise again. You will not lose that unique magic you owe the world because you wrote something that does not meet your personal idea of a great piece. Trust me, once an idea pops up, write it down. You don’t have to have everything figured out yet. Write a paragraph, change words, cross out sentences, spend three months perfecting your piece but at least you are creating your magic, constantly. You didn’t leave room for a magic to die out before creating another because you were busy ‘perfecting’.
As the prolific writer, Margaret Atwood, once said, if I waited till it was perfect, I would have never written a word. I can imagine a writer’s life without having written a word. It would feel like watching a man trying to stop himself from using the loo. I sort of hope hat I have helped re-evaluate certain views on writing and that by enthusing over this ageless art, I have succeeded in prompting those friends/acquaintances of mine (and everyone really) into contributing their unique magic to the world, for future generations to find.