(The Midnight Muse, appearing on irevuo.com, is an inspirational column by Cristian Mihai; this post has been guest authored by Shannon Blue Christensen.)
“Write, write, write. And then, write more,” all authors are told. Write when you are frustrated. Write when you are stuck. Write when you are bored or lonely or in love. But, always, write.
Clearly, good advice. We only improve with practice, so obviously we need to practice writing to be better able to say what we mean. We become more comfortable with language and structure and theme and blah blah blah.
The problem is: if you spend all your time writing, you won’t spend any time living. Really living, being, breathing and sweating and crying for joy or sorrow from real experiences that happen alone or with others.
We can only write about what we know about. And if we aren’t living, what on earth could we possibly have to say?
We write, or sing, or paint, or build to share our existence and experiences with others. We communicate the things that matter to us in part because we hope to prove to ourselves (and our audiences) that we are not alone. These acts of sharing are what distinguishes art from narcissistic self-absorbed blather, of which there is already far too much.
It follows, naturally, logically, then, that to demonstrate that we are not alone or isolated, that we must – at least once in a while, at least with a few carefully chosen people – we must put away our pens or computers and breathe the air, touch someone else’s skin, listen to another person’s voice.
Engage in your life. And then, write about that.