Need: A strong feeling that one must have or do something.
That is a basic description of why I must write. Every so often I feel the need to express myself in written word. So I’ll write a bit in a blog, and even write some fiction and then I’m off to do something else. But that’s not it, either. In fact, its more than that. Much more.
It’s a craving. An abnormal desire to do something. Unlike a need, it is more acute and the intensity is strong and very, very sharp. It’s like eating the very sharpest cheddar for the first time. The color of the cheddar is very bright and dark yellow, the flavor blocks the sensation of all other flavor.
Often, it is also of relatively short duration.
The urge to create a tale or anecdote from a blank sheet and a pen has become stronger in recent years, although I have had the desire since I was a child. However, it is more difficult than drawing, a hobby since I was seven.
The difficulty lies partly in the fact it is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Unpredictable is that it strikes me whenever. Uncontrolled in that I have no say as to where or when the urge to write strikes. However, I am learning to cope. I know, one of those ‘first world problem’ memes.
Another part is the dissipation factor. The feeling is intense and as these desires usually are, it is also short-lived. Sometimes it will dissipate after a mere thirty minutes. Often it will last several hours. Even after the feeling has passed, I can write more, but it becomes so difficult that I must soon stop.
I was going to try to figure this issue out and try to learn to control it, but I realize that may not be a good idea. Yes, though I am not superstitious, I may just kill this newfound productivity just by examining it more closely. I just don’t want to look this gift horse in the mouth. Plus, horse’s breath isn’t something I want to sample just now.
However, this difficulty. Like others, is managed after a fashion. I have a digital voice recorder to record voice notes, as well as an iPad to type on and copy notes in various formats. There is a high powered gaming computer I use to organize my thoughts into the text you are reading. Even as I carry around a small notebook and also use a smartphone.
The last part of the difficulty, like the first, is also unmanageable. You see, I have little ambition or motivation. So sometimes the desire passes before I get around to writing. Today, it’s a bit different. And that is the real mystery. I am here, at this moment, writing this short missive on the only aspect of my personality that I cannot explain.
Some have said it might be easier to write on paper with a pen or pencil. I admit, there is a certain charm to that approach. However, it is also painfully slow. I will explain:
As I said, writing by hand is very slow, yet the thoughts come very fast. So fast that I forget half of what I want to write. If I continue in this fashion for very long, I lose track and the piece I am laboring on usually gets incoherent.
The advent of computer based word processors, coupled with my typing ability has enabled me to get around this disability to put down the words I must use to get my thoughts out.
It also helps that I type very fast. So fast that I can write a three page story in under an hour. Eight hours of inspiration can get me up to fifteen pages. Oh yeah, having Scrivener also helps a great deal.
You may also find it curious that I can type so fast because I look at the keyboard as I type. I can’t help it. I only took one hour of typing class in high school. I opted out for Study Hall, only so I could catch up on reading the latest science fiction novels.
One other thing that has helped me, and I find it growing in usefulness: I will think for several days on a topic I want to write about. As I think on a topic or a story, concepts organize themselves into sentences and then paragraphs, resulting in something that I can transcribe in an orderly fashion. It is something I recommend for anyone who has issues with ‘stream of consciousness’ writing. I know I have issues with it.
All of this is well and good. But there is something missing from this narrative. When I know that I am getting to the end of a piece, I become more agitated and it becomes harder to concentrate. So hard, in fact, that I have to will myself to finish. At the moment that I have reached the end, I don’t even have the desire to copy edit. Usually, I am tired and have to take a nap. Only then I can edit and correct.
When writing a story, I may or may not have notes. But as the story moves (it writes itself), tension within me rises until I have to start moving around. Sometimes my leg will start to shake, but mostly I get tension in my right wrist. At times, knowing I am on the last paragraph or two, I have to get up and walk around. The tension in my body is that strong. A nervous energy that must be partially dissipated so that I can finish.
From what I see, most who write don’t seem to have these issues. I thought that this was something genetic, but no one in the last three generations on either side of my family writes. At least other than recipes on occasion. So it’s some kind of fluke for me to be this way. Anyway, it’s both fun, and not fun.
About the only thing I can say about this urge to write is, that when it passes at the same time that I have completed something, there is a rush that goes through me. A sense of accomplishment that is coupled with a relief that it has run its course. It’s a torture of ecstasy.