I Don’t Rightly Know – TCWT July

“How has writing affected your perception of the world?”

This is the Teens Can Write, Too prompt for this month of July.  And I must admit, it’s stumped me so far.  I’ve sat here for five minutes trying to write an answer, and failing.

Of course, at the same time I was trying to see if a mock interview would be feasible in order to introduce the question, as well as possibly an abduction by aliens.  Just trying for a break from the usual.

Writing to me is a vent for emotions, thoughts and ideas.  Thus, it follows that I vent less ideas in other places, making me less of an annoying little person offering opinions on why the earth isn’t flat.  I do that here, on my blog.

But writing, as it lets ideas loose, also encourages new ideas.  Thus, I spend more time thinking now that I write than before I wrote.  I see ideas differently now.  Whereas before as a puny fantasy reader, I would just speculate on how the author could have made a certain creature look less like an orc, I now see everything as a possible element in a story.  If I think the author should have done something differently, I do it myself.  Ideas are no longer thrown away immediately– I’ll write something eventually where they can be used.

I also see endless opportunities for jokes in real life.  There are always conversations where you can never seem to find an opening to display that hilarious quip that just occurred to you– but in writing, you control the conversations– more or less.  Dialogue is one of my greatest humorous strengths, if I do say so myself.

I sometimes study people for distinguishing character traits.  Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law, and possibly my next novel.  Any interesting facial features– such as an angular face, flat nose, square chin– will be coming soon to a character near you.  Habits are interesting to me– wringing hands, biting nails or cracking knuckles are all old nervous habits to me.  I want something distinctive, and I watch for it.

If possible, my mind wanders more than it used to.  Anything I hear will spark a landslide of new ideas, which will take me off on a new tangent.  Whereas before I could read the first chapter of a book and say “Good”, “Meh” or throw the book down in disgust, now I do one of those three, then start thinking about what the author did and what made it like it was.  More often than not, that turns into a blog post.  (For instance, I only got through the first twelve pages of Matt Myklusch’s The Secret War before running to the computer and writing a post on prologues, introductions and first chapters.)  If not that, it goes into the review later.  Instead of reading five books and saying “Good, good, good, good, bad”; now I actually understand what the author is doing, is trying to do, is failing at, and whether he got a hankering for chicken nuggets in the first chapter or the second.  Imperative insights, all.  Imagine trying to write a review if you had no idea what made a good book good.  Well, that was me a few months ago.  By now, I’ve figured out a lot of things, and still have a lot more to figure out, about writing.  Writing has caused me to grow as a reader, just as reading has caused me to grow as a writer.  You look at the results to help the process, just as you look at the process to fully appreciate the results.  If you saw a lifesized sculpture of a man made of dried up chewing gum, you might be indifferent, until you realized how much chewing gum the guy had to go through to get the toenail.  Just thinking about it makes my jaw hurt.

“How has writing affected your perception of the world?”  It isn’t as if all of a sudden colors became more vibrant and I understood the ultimate meaning of my existence.  It isn’t as if I suddenly was able to appreciate great art– drag me into any museum of art and I’ll be itching to leave before five minutes in the impressionism section is up.  But writing has changed me, and I hope it’s for the better.  I’ve become more callous toward some things– not so good.  I’ve become more sensitive toward other things– better.  I’ve even looked at some circumstances in my life as plot twists, and have occasionally taken a distant view of most of my life.  It’s as if everything is happening to someone other than me.  My life has become a story, and I’m the main character.  How many times have we heard that?

Really, writing has just shown me what I can do with words.  I’ve always liked telling stories– my siblings can attest to that after all the times I’ve told fibs.  I was just never any good at making them up.  Now at least I can look at what I’ve done and study it, and hopefully become better at it.  Of course, this is much broader than lying, which I should hope I’ve grown out of– what I do now is write fiction.  There’s a difference.

Writing hasn’t changed my thinking in a way that’s readily visible to bystanders, but it has changed me.  I don’t think I cared so much about grammar before…

I’ve been writing this post sporadically over a few days now.  All apologies for rambling, and I hope you can find some more satisfactory posts at the blogs linked below.

July 7–http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com–Miriam Joy Writes

July 8–http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com–Musings From Neville’s Navel

July 9–http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank

July 10–http://maybeteenauthor.blogspot.com–Blog of a (Maybe) Teen Author

July 11–http://scribblingbeyondthemargins.wordpress.com–Scribbling Beyond the Margins

July 12–http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com–Lily’s Notes In The Margins

July 13–http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com–Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

July 14–http://laughablog.wordpress.com–The Zebra Clan

July 15–http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com–Reality Is Imaginary

July 16–http://a-myriad-of-colors.blogspot.com–A Myriad of Colors

July 17–http://anmksmeanderingmind.wordpress.com–An MK’s Meandering Mind

July 18–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

July 19–http://allegradavis.wordpress.com–All I Need Is A Keyboard

July 20–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com--Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

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18 Comments

  1. “And I must admit, it’s stumped me so far. I’ve sat here for five minutes trying to write an answer, and failing.”

    The Great Liam didn’t think of something right away?!
    :P Nice post!

    Reply
  2. Good post. I like how you mentioned writing being a way to vent ideas and emotions, and being a substitute for fibbing–I don’t think we’ve seen that yet, but it’s very true!

    Reply
    • Well, you know, all of my Phil conferences/episodes are chock full of things my puppet character does but I have never done. Living through one of Steve’s tirades, for one thing.

      Reply
  3. Excellent post. I like how you think of your life’s twists and turns as plot twists, starring you as the main character. It’s a different way to think about it, and I think it’s a good way to think.

    Speaking of TSW, have you gotten past those twelve pages?

    Reply
  4. I had to write my rough draft before I could read anyone else’s posts, for fear that I wouldn’t be able to think of anything original afterwards. It was indeed a tough topic.

    I liked what you said about writing helping you to know why you like or don’t like books.

    Reply
    • Indeed, though copying never hurts if it’s still the truth. Since this is a personal question and not a generic one (“what’s your favorite color”, versus “what’s two plus two”), as long as it’s true it isn’t cheating. If all else fails, comment on everyone’s posts, then copy and paste your comments into a single post of your own and say “I agreed with everyone. That’s my post.” But you’ll do fine, I’m sure.

      Reply
  5. That’s a good idea! But I don’t think I’ll need to resort to that.

    Reply
  6. Great post!
    I cannot think of anything really intelligent to say, so I’ll say I agreed with everything you said. Except that bit about impressionism. I like impressionism.

    Reply
    • This prompt was the wrong one for intelligent responses. I haven’t said anything but “Good post” on anyone’s post yet this month. Since it changes from person to person, you can’t reply effectively.

      Reply
  7. I’m going to agree with your previous comment… This really was a good post–I’m sure much better than mine will be–but I can’t think of anything to intelligently comment about. So, uh… *awkward silence* Nice job.

    Reply

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