In recent times, I’ve done a few interviews for my series, The Fledgling Account, the first four books of which are releasing this year. And in just a couple of these interviews, I’ve been asked about writing rituals, and which ones in particular I subscribe to. This made me giggle because I actually don’t have any writing rituals.
I’m a very unorthodox writer. I don’t plan meticulously. I don’t actually get particularly hooked on books at all – it’s been a long time since I’ve been so thrilled by something that I couldn’t put it down – and I have no writing rituals whatsoever, other than some prayer before writing or editing when times have been really tough.
The fact is, every time this question has come up, I feel the need to be completely honest. It reminds me that lots of people have faulty views of writers. Many folks have a glamorous – or at least mystical – impression of what it means to be a writer. They think writers make terrific sales. They think the first contract a writer gets means they will be a full-time author right away. They believe a writer’s life is full of endless inspiration and spiritual insight. This is a long way from the truth.
Without even going into the top two points (as I believe the reasons why these are wrong are fairly self explanatory), I want to comment on the last two: the endless inspiration and spiritual insight. I must point out to any readers of this blog here today that authors are ordinary people. We are not people on a higher plane (my apologies, colleagues). And we are not qualified to do our job because of our incredible spiritual insight or understanding of the world around us. To put it quite bluntly, I write because I don’t have those things. I write to fill my life with those things… not because my life is already like that.
Here are some of the main reasons why I write – as writing itself is the only “ritual” you could say I truly subscribe to. I write because I cannot understand my life, and I need to find my way. I write in order to become a better person. And I write so that in outlining meaning in the world around me, I may illuminate other people’s lives and help them to understand too. I write because writing is of God, who spoke the world into being through His Word. I write because I want to be like Him… but because I’m not yet.
May I encourage readers to think of writers as relatively ordinary people, like themselves. The only difference is that many writers have this deficiency: without writing, they cannot find their way.