“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.” – E.L. Doctorow.
Everybody has a different writing process. My writing process is hazarding myself. To me, writing is amazingly beautiful, enchanting, expressive, and absolutely terrifying. It is the beginning of the writing process that scares me. It is starting, and knowing how to start. It would be unacceptable for me to just sit down and write, with no regards to the consequences. I also begin to fear the end. I am utterly terrified that what I write will not satisfy me, that it will not be good enough. Every piece of my writing is a reflection of myself, and so I must work to make it as perfect as I can. I must make it something that I can be satisfied with, something that I can think about its existence in the world without cringing.
Finally, after trying to calm down and probably procrastinating a bit more that I should, I put my illogical fears aside, and begin. I look over the assignment, and I make a mental map of what I want it to look like. Depending on the type of writing, I may jot down a few lines or phrases that I think I might want to include later. Then, I sit in silence alone and think. I like silence. I like being alone. I like to think. I usually sit in my favorite comfortable purple chair, my black desk, or just on a couch, depending on what kind of writing I am doing. I prefer this stage to be done in one sitting, if possible. I let the words come together to me as constellations appear in the night sky. And all of a sudden, in a rush of passion, I write. I write, before I can change my mind, as much as I can about what I have planned. I then throw caution to the wind, and start to write things before I can think about them. I am not afraid anymore, because now I am in control. Writing now feels wonderful, like driving a car really, really fast. Even though my entire composition of myself is at stake, I do not want to ever stop. But as I must, I do.
Then I look at the Thing that I have created. It is staring me right back in the face, and daring me to make it better. By this time I am too far gone. There is no return. So I do it. I make it better. Now, I consciously think about what I am doing. I do not make any major changes to the paper; however, as I revise, I pay more attention to things like structure, word choice, and clarifying. Without any fear, I take those words and I shove them around and I hack them apart and I glue things onto the end. And then I smooth it all out and somehow seamlessly sew it all together.
In the end, when it is all there, I start to like it. At this point, however, it is still too personal to let anybody else see it. After all, I do share a secret with it. I smile to see that it is just sitting there, looking harmless, as if it had always been there. As if it is only itself. But it is not just itself. In a way, it is just my own thoughts in a physical form. It is me. Only I know the truth. I am the only one who knows how I created it. No one else can come in between that. And with that in mind, I somehow prepare myself for the inevitable: that I actually have to turn in the writing assignment. I actually care about what I have written, and I don’t want it to get hurt. What if someone says it is not good enough? What if someone tries to kill it? And mostly, what if my baby bird does not fly at all? But I know, deep down, that no one else can harm it. I created it, and only I have the power to bring it down. By letting it be seen by someone else, I am not risking its death, but I am giving it a chance at life. I love it, and so I set it free. At the end, after it has been sanded down and polished, it is something I am proud of. I have actually created this, out of words. Out of the same words available to everybody, I have created something that is uniquely me. When I complete something, it is the most amazing feeling. All those hours of terror, and then of inspiration, passion, and work were all worth it. I took a chance and I wrote, and I loved it.