The Writer's Mind
Writers don't cry, they bleed on paper.
"For me, writing is such an escape, and I felt very lucky to have this to run away to."
– Rachel Joyce
Sometimes I wonder, is it only when a person has mental difficulties that they have the talent to write. Most famous authors suffered from mental illnesses and many of them ended their lives because of it. Sylvia Plath was trying to use writing to overcome her struggles but ended up gassing herself in her kitchen. Virginia Woolf has to be institutionalized because of the loss and the abuse she went through. Hemingway who loved boxing, hunting, and sailing, shot himself in the mouth, making his fans wonder if the image he was drawing of himself was just a mask for all his insecurities.
But again, we can’t say that writers are weak. Writing is such a heavy talent that builds on a small idea. The weeks turn to months and months to years to come up with the result that keeps our minds insecure and scared to end up with work that isn’t good enough for us. We read and reread and reread again, creating endless cycles of researching, writing and editing. The process is long and painful, and it acquires patience and will but most importantly the writer needs to adore writing to be able to go through the process with great joy.
Why we start writing is the question. Do we start writing because we don't like the life we are living so we escape by creating our own? Do we start writing because we want to feel in control of life and we can't feel in control of ours? Do we write because it gives us strength? Do we write to understand ourselves? Do we want to write because nothing else makes sense? If you are here to find an answer let me tell you, I am not sure. All I know is that most people start writing when something unusual happens in their lives. I started writing when I started to feel lonely.
"Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
– Gloria Steinem
I created friends in my books and kept them to my own, refused to publish any books or even tell anyone that I write. I was twelve or so when I decided to translate a movie into a book. I changed the names and started to change the plot of the movie to be convenient for me. At that time, I didn't even know that I could be a writer or that I could have the right to write a book that can be published. I was writing for fun, for comfort. It was summer. I remember I used to open my desktop computer after everyone went to sleep, lower the volume as much as I could and start to write. When I got tired and it was time to sleep, I used to take the notebook with me and put it under my pillow. I found it silly to write. But then when I went back to school, I completely forgot to write simply because I had school friends and I was always too tired to stay after everyone goes to sleep to write.
But then I immigrated to Canada and felt even more lonely. Not just because I had no friends but also because I didn't understand anyone and no one understands me. People in school used to make fun of me when the teacher asks me something and I didn't know what to answer. I remember clearly their laughter for trying to put my words together. It hurt, even more, when the teacher herself laughed too instead of telling them to not mock my language. I started writing again. And for some reason, I noticed that I was getting better. Is it because I was more broken that my words ran easier in my head?
"Writing is alone, but I don't think it's lonely. Ask any writer if they feel lonely when they're writing their book, and I think they will say no."
- Margret Atwood
Then I grew up and changed school and was bullied again for having a crush on a guy. My writings at that time were more about the broken heart that shattered for liking someone who made fun of me, for having friends that didn't have my back. My language was getting better so my brain knew exactly how to write. Then I changed school again for many reasons. I couldn't make friends again for many reasons too. At that time, I started to realize that I wanted to be a writer. I started to write more often and started many books that I never finished and many poems about many experiences I went through. Then I changed school again because we moved. I started to make friends but still felt lonely. I started writing a book from a small idea I had in class that my English teacher told me that this idea could make a great book. I wrote many chapters on the same day and wanted to show them to everyone. I wanted to make people read what I write. I told my friends that I write and started to get compliments on how good I am and how better I can become. I finished my book that year when my heart got broken by my best friend. Then I stopped writing for a long time when I got happy and settled down in a relationship. But it didn't last long. He broke up with me sooner than I thought. My writings went back to being words of grief and pain. And so on and so on, until this day.
I find it best to write when I am in a bad mood, angry, sad or even crying. I find it easier to imagine the scene I want to write when I feel incapable of doing anything else. Maybe I do it because it makes me feel good. Or maybe I do it to stop my brain to think about what happened. Or maybe I do it because I am just used to using it as therapy when I have no one to talk to. All I know is that I will always write when I don't feel good. And till this day, I am not sure why.
But then again, if writing makes writers feel good then why did all these authors commit suicide?