Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Thoughts on Writing

Vanderbilt House Organ magazine came out this week. It's the summer reading issue. Employees of the medical center submit different works that they have written to be published in the magazine once a year. There are only three categories: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

I occasionally get the urge to write. Not just blog, but really, really write something. The urge will jump on me to write an essay of some sort. It could be an essay about an aspect of my transplant experience, or it could be an article of some sort to submit to some kind of Christian magazine or something. I guess that's what several of my blog entries are; my "rough drafts," if you will, of different ideas that I've had for essays and/or articles. The posts about the paralytic and survivor's guilt are the two main ones that I've posted here that I have had serious thoughts about expounding on, but as quickly as the urge hits, it's gone again.

Often I talk myself out of it. I think that nobody really wants to read my stuff. After all, I think I'm a mediocre writer, at best. I do think I have a sort of knack for conveying my feelings through written words, people have often told me that, but what I write is never flowery or picture-esque. I guess that is a curse of being a scientist: 1+1=2 no matter how you look at it. There is no need in describing what those 1's look like, or how they move about or join together to create the 2. It just is.

I guess I'm also scared of the disappointment. Even though my writing is not great, often what I write about is so deeply personal, if it were to be rejected I think it would be a reflection of someone rejecting me.

Either way, the urge is here again. I'm thinking about really working on my post about survivor's guilt to perhaps submit to House Organ next summer. But ask me tomorrow, and I will probably have changed my mind.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

You should definitely do it. Just do it!

When you read writers' finished works, you get a false impression of how it got to be so well written. For 99% of writers, it is hard work; several iterations of drafts and edits. Here is some simple rules that are very common among great writers that may help you.

Initial effort: write--just write. Don't think or edit, just write. Continuity, spelling, coherency don't matter; just write. Capture the inspiration and write until your done.

Set it aside for several hours or a day.

Read through your original and you will start planning your organization and presentation. Read through it before you do a first draft.

Edit a 1st draft. Add descriptive language--enhance. Sit on it for hours or a day.

2nd edit--continue to refine and correct. Add descriptive language--enhance. Set aside.

3rd edit. Try to eliminate as many unnecessary words as possible while keeping the descriptive language and the flow.

4th edit. Let someone else you respect read through and comment.

Keep doing this until you are happy with it.

The hardest part is the origination. So just write. It is easier to edit something than it is to create it.

Just write it!!!!!

Did I mention, just write.


At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree you should write. Somehow I stumbled upon your BLOG and found you have an excellent way of conveying the survivor's guilt and other emotions. I have shared this Web address with my daughter who just finished medical school and has begun her residency in transplants. You may help many others through your writings. I hope that you will find the inspiration to enlarge your venue for expressing yourself. May God bless you.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks so much, Anonymous Commentor.

If, somehow, your daughter reads my blog and she is better able to relate to and understand her patients, then this has been well worth it.

Writing has been very therapeutic for me. I just hope that I can help someone else out along the way.

Thanks for the encouragement. :o)

At 7:04 PM, Blogger CL said...

Yes, you should do it. I have totally enjoyed your blog and have been so encouraged by it. I think God will use it if you choose to do it.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Just checking in. Tony seems to have said all that I can say. It also seems that he may have read one of my favorite books on writing, but that is another conversation. Just wanted to check in, and let you know you're still in my prayers.


At 7:49 AM, Blogger Jana said...

DO IT!!! I know the feelings you described here, Amanda...I know, I can do this!!!


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