Posted by: Debbra Dunning Brouillette | June 2, 2010

Writing for me…

If you are a writer, even a “wannabe” writer, you are most likely often writing for someone else. You have an assignment to complete for a class you’re taking. Or, you are being paid to write for an employer. You are writing to meet a deadline, to fit certain parameters: “Three to four hundred words, please. Need it by the end of the day.”

Writing to please a client, an editor or a publisher is, of course, necessary if you want to build and sustain a career as a writer. No one will pay you to write it the way you want, without taking into account the needs and purpose of whatever it is you are to be writing.

On the other hand, think back to when you wrote your first bit of prose. For me it was a poem at age seven. Later, it was a song. Even later, it was a short story, then an essay. More poetry followed; more songs. Back then, I was not writing for anyone else but me. I was expressing myself – my thoughts, my dreams, and my longings. I didn’t think about whether someone else would like it, read it, or sing it.

Ray Bradbury, renowned author of such famous science fiction/fantasy novels as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, had this to say about “writing persistently.” (View the short YouTube video below to hear his full comments.) After writing a short story at age 22 called “The Lake,” borne out of a personal experience from his childhood, Bradbury revealed, “I realized after 10 years of writing, I’d finally written something beautiful. I’d turned a corner into my interior self. I wasn’t writing exterior stuff. I wasn’t writing for the right or the left or to the in-between; I was writing for me. And I discovered that was the way to go.”

After writing for my “bread and butter” for the past several decades, I am re-discovering the joy of “writing for me.” I’m thinking more about my life experiences and what I might want to share with the world. I’m jotting down ideas, saving quotes from others, and even waking up in the morning with a fragment of what might become a future blog. Or, who knows, perhaps a future book?

I will, of course, continue to write for others. That’s what I do. It’s my chosen career and my natural gift.  It’s still extremely rewarding to please others with the words I choose, with the turn of a phrase, and with the blending of their thoughts and mine to create something meaningful and communicate something powerful.

But as Ray Bradbury’s words continue to echo, I’m encouraging myself and other writers to take time to write “off the clock” more. To write for the joy and fulfillment it brings. To let your mind wander and think outside the box of your next assignment. In whatever I write, I’m going to strive to bring to it my “interior self” even more than before, so that special “me” ingredient shines through. Like Ray, I think I’ll discover that is the way to go.

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Responses

  1. I agree whole-heartedly and can identify with what you’re talking about.

  2. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and did I say …YES?!!!!

    I love this post, Debbra and am delighted you’re writing more for YOU these days.

    I find the more I allow myself to write “off the clock” the easier my “on the clock” writing flows… and the more I am aware of the intricacies and wonder in the world around me. Really quite magical, actually.


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