The bloody reality of writing

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The bloody reality of writing

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I’ve always admired Ernest Hemingway for his honesty. With such an admirable legacy of a pursuit for life, it’s not surprising that Hemingway wrote what he felt and felt what he lived.

But for those of us who do not live the life that Earnest Hemingway did — we haven’t written novels or worked alongside influential writers in Paris, and we sure haven’t won a Nobel Prize — how do we sit down in front of our work and bleed?

As students, we’re often given assignments where we have to write on a particular topic, defend an argument that we don’t have an opinion on, or in the case of Andy Coughlan’s opinion writing class, write a blog post reviewing a product or a live performance, or an opinion piece.

The difference between these assignments, however, is that Andy encourages us to bleed.

When writing next to someone in the office and all you hear is the sound of their speed-ridden fingertips whooshing across the keyboard, it is both discouraging and heartening. My first thought is typically, “how are they so inspired as I sit here and wait on some profound topic of discussion to drop into my head,” and my second, “if they have such passion, I must be storing my own somewhere.”

The latter is exactly the thought Andy tries to instill in his students.

Of course, it is difficult to come up with a blog topic or an opinion piece if you’re not passionate about your subject, or if you don’t have an opinion.

The beauty of being a decent human, though, is that if you are living and breathing, have eaten a meal, walked up a flight of stairs, are in any sort of relationship or are reading this piece, you have an opinion.

Words easily flow into a document when you begin to examine an experience or encounter — when you begin to bleed. Writing is sparked from inspiration, the pretty and the not so pretty.

Let me clarify: writer’s block does indeed exist when a writer’s creativity comes to a halt. But more often than not, this inconvenience is cured through stepping away from your work and doing something. Anything. Creating an experience.

What is the difference in influence between a story and an assignment? The writer’s blood type.

Like Maya Angelou said in her autobiography, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

You have to bleed and you can’t get blood from a stone.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I’ve always admired Ernest Hemingway for his honesty. With such an admirable legacy of a pursuit for life, it’s not surprising that Hemingway wrote what he felt and felt what he lived.

But for those of us who do not live the life that Hemingway did — we who haven’t written novels or worked alongside influential writers in Paris, and who sure haven’t won a Nobel Prize — how do we sit down in front of our work and bleed?

As students, we’re often given assignments where we have to write on a particular topic, defend an argument that we don’t have an opinion on, or in the case of Andy Coughlan’s opinion writing class, write a blog post reviewing a product or a live performance, or an opinion piece.

The difference between these assignments, however, is that Andy encourages us to bleed.

When writing next to someone in the office and all you hear is the sound of their speed-ridden fingertips whooshing across the keyboard, it is both discouraging and heartening. My first though is typically, “How are they so inspired as I sit here and wait on some profound topic of discussion to drop into my head,” and my second, “If they have such passion, I must be storing my own somewhere.”

The latter is exactly the thought Andy tries to instill in his students.

Of course, it is difficult to come up with a blog topic or an opinion piece if you’re not passionate about your subject, or if you don’t have an opinion.

The beauty of being a decent human, though, is that if you are living and breathing, have eaten a meal, walked up a flight of stairs, are in any sort of relationship or are reading this piece, you have an opinion.

Words easily flow into a document when you begin to examine an experience or encounter — when you begin to bleed. Writing is sparked from inspiration, the pretty and the not so pretty.

Let me clarify: writer’s block does indeed exist when a writer’s creativity comes to a halt. But more often than not, this inconvenience is cured through stepping away from your work and doing something. Anything. Creating an experience.

What is the difference between a personal story and a journalism assignment? The writer’s blood type.

Like Maya Angelou said in her autobiography, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

You have to bleed and you can’t get blood from a stone.

Author: Shelby Strickland

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