Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Own It

I always love to hear artists/writers/creators talk about their craft - to hear all the unique ways they describe this magical "thing" of creating something (whether on canvas, on the page, or on a keyboard).

Last week on Oprah, writer Toni Morrison was interviewed and she described her craft, what it does for her:

After all these years, Toni has one more lesson to offer: Everyone needs to have a place that is all theirs. "It's just a place where it's you," she says. "It can be creative, it can be a computer, it can be anything. It's your sacred place and you own it." (source here)

That's my favorite part of the quote - that we "own" our creativity, that sacred place, that world we've created. It's all ours and no one else's. I think if we writers are honest with ourselves, we'd agree that a huge part of the allure of writing is the degree of control we're granted. In real life, we don't have much control -- heck, we can lose just about anything, beyond our control, at the drop of a hat: our keys, our memory, our loved ones, our health, our time, our material possessions, our jobs, and on the list goes...

But when we write, we are in FULL and absolute control. 100%. We determine the fate of every character, every plot outcome, every setting, every word. And that can be oddly liberating. Odd, because in the end, that control is just an illusion, isn't it? I mean, we have control over a world that isn't even real, except in our own minds. Still, though, that sense of control we feel when we write -- that's just as real as the keyboard I'm typing on right now.

It's a power we can own. It's ours alone.


  1. Hmm... I don't know. I don't really feel that way when I write. I'm sure that's true for some, possibly most, but I just don't get that feeling of power and control when I'm writing. Not that I feel like the characters are in control or anything, because they're not, but writing is too much of a struggle for me, too hard to get out, to really feel "in control" of it.

  2. I know what you mean - writing's a struggle for me too. And it's not really that I feel "powerful" with every keyboard stroke - I guess it's more that when I look at writing as a whole, when I'm determining the "fate" of my characters, especially in the brainstorming stage, it's like it's "my" world and I can determine the outcome or something.

    You know, I've heard authors say that their characters are in control, or that they dictate storylines to them, but I don't feel that way (personally). Sometimes as I get to know them better, it's easier to figure out what to do with them - but I don't really feel like they're "leading me."

    You're right, though - it's quite subjective, and each writer has his/her own unique experience. I don't think there's a right or wrong way to feel or experience writing...

  3. Well, that's certainly true. Although you wouldn't know it if you listen to some agents/publishers/editors. heh

  4. I only WISH I had so much control, hehe! Then I would no longer have those dry days, when nothing seems to flow, and every word is like pulling teeth.