The Hardest Part About Being A Writer
I want someone to feel what I feel, if only for a moment. I want to convey the ephemeral, floating, gut reaction inside that makes me cry and laugh and moan — I want someone to read the words I write and feel the same as I did. That’s the best we can do, I think, as writers. I mean, the story is important too — the facts, the who the what — but without the feeling imbued inside the pages, what is the point?
My favorite books are the ones that manage to tell a story and convey a feeling at the same time. The best example of this is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Not much happens in the book, plot wise. It’s about a lost boy who wanders New York for a few days, meets up with a few people, and thinks of the past, the people he knows, and himself — as he worries about everything from his dead brother to the ducks in Central Park in winter. That’s what he cares about, and that’s what the reader cares about. His feelings. It’s why that book is popular with teenagers, because Salinger manages to convey the feeling of being a teenager, of being lost, and scared, and discovering a new world where you don’t fit in.
This also explains phenomena like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. Because as you are reading the story, you are engrossed — you need to know how the story ends. But the second it’s over, the connection to the book is weak — because it is plot driven, not feeling oriented. I can’t relate to the characters in those books, and I never managed to understand how they truly felt. I know what they said, I know what happened, but there is something lost in transmission. You can say, “Bella was depressed, Bella couldn’t eat for days,” but those are words. I don’t feel how Bella is feeling. I am observing from afar — how sad, that poor girl. But I am not that girl. I do not feel as she feels.
That is the hardest part of being a writer. The fear of spending my whole life typing into a computer or writing in a notebook, pouring out the what and the why — but figuring out how to make you feel as I felt? How do I do that? How can I transform something that does not exist into written words, which will then transform back into an emotion, a response, a longing or a pain?
Great writing is like magic-I can watch the magician do the same trick over and over, yet every time I try to replicate it, I am missing something — the false bottom, the hidden clue.
I am hoping it comes with practice. That the more I write, the more I observe, the better I will become. I am no prodigy, I was not born with an instant gift to make everyone cry and say, “Now that is talent!”
I am a worker. I am a tryer. I will watch and write and hopefully, one day, I will make the magic happen. One day, it will fall from my fingers and I will transform the words into the ephemeral, the gut reaction. One day, I will look up and my words will mean more than the paper it is printed on. They will mean something to someone else, and that, as a writer, is all I could ask for.