Pens are writers’ extensions of themselves. They serve as holograms walking around in the minds of their readers. They let readers live realities and fantasies by going to places and doing things they never thought of doing. But like all sorts of technology created by vulnerable creatures such as humans, pens also go through glitches, defects, and sometimes fail to deliver if not hesitate. It might sound cliché to say that with great power comes great responsibility and commitment but it’s the solid truth about the order of the pen. It might sound magical to many and far reaching to even more but as much as the pen gives you in terms of liberty, creativity, and passion; it bestows on you darkness within.
As writers, we are plagued with questions and doubts that differ from other folks because we doubt ourselves in the realm of thought expressed in terms of ability to contrive concepts to execute word goals and to reach the ears of audiences after passing the hurdles of publishers’ eyes in a market cluttered with common and short term hypes. Our fears take many different forms ranging from self doubt to seemingly ridiculous questions and even worries about how things sound or look like. In the end we find ourselves cornered by the very pen that gave us power to create cowering under the stress of delivering a narrative that thrills, entertains, teaches, inspires, and maybe reminds. Everyday we struggle with a dire requirement to bring ourselves to juice out an output that meets the expected normal productive rate of a healthy mind only to break before mental block. And so we form legions and alliances on social media like support groups for people with writing issues like us seeking emotional support, creative venting venues, and even creative assistance such as professional critique from readers and writers alike. In the process, we doubt ourselves more, we question what we write, we assess our existence based on our output as compared to others all while we forget that no two minds read or write or even construe alike the very same image or writing we look at. The question that begs an answer here is why are we so unsure, so fragile, and yet so hesitant? If you ask me, it is only a superficial question when in fact we should be asking how can I make it happen? What do I lack from info or motivation? How do I sound more convincing? Why don’t I take a closer look at what am trying to write or do with what I write? We all know that the learning process is experimental and is launched by a mere question. Yes it is a simple question but it acts like a key that opens doors to the world of what if, why not, how come, when, and where to. Yet again it is the dodging of the questioning therapy that gets us into the truant pen state. When we ask questions to ourselves with the tone of can rather than how or why we fall victim and patient to the truant pen.
It is normal to have fears, to worry about not being good enough, and to even feel so depressed about it; just before you pick up your pen. However, it is a matter of life or death once you hold that pen for it is you who commands it. After all, the pen is your extension but it’s not you and so it will yield whatever you choose to wield. In other words, sometimes it’s not a matter of courage but rather a matter of let’s see. Writing is flowing going where the tide goes. Plans in the writing realm are like your general gaze across a lengthy shore from a distance wherein you assimilate the general view in big details only to realize once you approach that there are points you’ve missed. Upon going closer to details you realize things were out of proportion and others were simply too bulky or shiny for you to notice from up there. Now the key to taking all that in, in a comprehensible manner is to recalibrate your view and rearrange the items you enumerate or show to properly reflect the picture you saw. All this goes on inside your mind as you are conversing with your pen. But how your pen writes all this depends on the fact that you remember that whoever reads your narrative was not there to see and that you need to make them see and feel and hear with you the same things simultaneously. So if you can close your eyes while someone reads your narrative to you and envision what is being read, congratulations for you have achieved your goal in conquering the truant pen. They will speak to you about fresh eyes and two more pairs to catch mistakes but they will not speak to you about what they heard or saw when they first heard or saw your narrative on their own while lying in bed half asleep or lazing around in a quiet place. The truth is the pen is silent when it is conversing to you but it must be the loudest when it speaks in the ears of its readers to wrench their hearts into the scenery you want them to see. Truth is writing comes with pain, a creative pain divided between the realm of self doubt, the space of creativity, and the shroud of receipt on the readers’ end.
You can run around chasing your pen or have your pen chase your thoughts but never forget nobody can help you command your pen or wield it the way you do. After all, your voice is yours and there is no low or high tone generally speaking but its the recipients ears’ that adjust the volume for you. The key to knowing how you should approach is by observing how you sound when you speak to others. In other words, sometimes you need to write like you talk and tell things as they come not as they should sound or as they should happen. After all, could and should have a chasm through which worlds can be swallowed and consumed. Don’t let doubt consume your pen and don’t let rejection confuse your pen but most importantly don’t let your indecisiveness break your pen with an internal silent feud. Writing takes discipline not in terms of habit to write but rather the clarity of the mind to be flexible, audible, resilient and not gullible. You must remember the mind commands the pen but it can only command what is feasible and the word feasible will range based on how you gage your perspective. Every aspect of your daily life, past experiences, and current observations reshape your perspective. Perspective is not only changing and dynamic it is also a growing being. It gets taller, shorter, lazier, sharper and sometimes lost if not wielded. Not because you write within one genre it’s not okay to experiment and fail. Not because you’ve never experimented, then it’s time to experiment. There are no mandatory should’s or could’s but there are it is what it is and come what may.
Openness is synonymous with resilience and endurance through perseverance in writing and fighting the truant pen in each and every one of us. You can’t say you won’t be stuck in a rut or you can fight being stuck in a rut. But you can say, it’s okay to be stuck in the rut because I have questions I didn’t answer or questions I still haven’t realized that I do have them. You can also say so what if am stuck in a rut, nothing is permanent and truant is a flu I can fight and take over. There’s a reason why pens were made with covers and no it wasn’t just to keep the ink from drying it was to deliver excitement to the writer each time the pen is clicked open to signify the beginning of a task and clicked back closed to signify the completion of a task. As you see, even the small incident of opening and clicking a pen or closing it has to be associated with an intent to begin or to end and such is every single thought association or idea conjuring when we begin reaching for our perspective to bleed thoughts through our pens unto our papers.
I might not be the best out here or there but I think, if people would have to do one thing differently about the creative process to go somewhere with their writing, it would be the advocacy of openness, bravery, and acceptance of failure to be successful.
So there you have it, I have a truant pen and am not afraid and it’s okay if you have it too. But you and I know we can always rely on our pens’ caps to begin or end the battle one day at a time no matter how loud or low the nays or yays. See you next time my fellow truant pens on another issue in our truant reality of writing.
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