What do you call a cow with no legs?
I was brainstorming on what my first post of 2018 should be and suddenly the answer was annoyingly clear: the thing that drove me to start this blog in the first place… writing. The truest love I have ever known.
My love for writing and my insatiable desire to pursue it constantly has always been a fact of who I am as much as my name is Caitlin Carr. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember – and yes, I know that’s cliche and incredibly cheesy but it really is true. I have always written to fulfill this deep chasm inside of me. I scribble and type tirelessly and then pitch the pages into this darkness in the hopes that one day I will run to it and see my efforts have made it shallow, habitable enough to wade into. So far, this has been a fruitless venture but still, my hunger to fill the pages still persists. I have always been a fidgety person who struggles to truly do nothing – the idea of a completely empty day sounds more maddening than relaxing to me. Throughout my life, I have found a variety of activities to keep me busy (working out, dance, photography) but there has never been anything that comes close to the satisfaction of writing. Starting with a bright white page that feels like staring into the sun and then covering it in lines of text, has always been the greatest joy I have found.
The best advice I can give to any aspiring writer is to read. Read all the time, read anything you can get your hands on, read as if it’s as essential as breathing because, for you, it should be. In the poignant words of Stephen King, “Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.” I’ve often learned as much, if not more, from terrible books as the best ones. When I see glaringly annoying idiosyncrasies in writing, it makes it that much more clear to me what I DON’T want to do and sometimes this is a great jumping off point. Incredible writing often puts me in such a state of awe that I have to take a couple days before I can attempt to integrate what I learned into my writing without being intimidated. Either way, reading other people’s writing will always teach you something that you could not have learned in the vacuum of your own style and ideas.
Writing is a tricky beast that demands the sinking of a lot of free time. It is a private and personal thing which means it can be easy to neglect. I tend to agree that it is indeed much more fun to go out and be social rather than locking yourself in your room with only your laptop for company, but such is the sacrifice that has to be made. It’s a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way more times than I would like to admit but your writing will never improve unless you make time for it as if it was a normal 9-5 job. Writing is a craft that demands a lot mentally and requires a lot of self-motivation. Some find it helpful to set aside specific hours to write but for me, it is a more visceral experience than anything else and to truly enjoy it I have to go into it excited. Music has been my greatest aid in this venture – I cannot even begin to list all the times I listened to a single song for hours simply because it gave me a feeling that I wanted to capture on paper and I didn’t want to lose it before I had adequately written all I had to say.
The main lesson I learned about writing in 2017 is that your imagination is a muscle as much as your bicep. It is more tricky to pin down and snarls a bit more when poked, but it is a muscle nonetheless. It will wither into ash if left unattended and it will not serve you unless you return the favor. If kept well-fed and allowed to run about in the fresh air, it will repay you in ways you could have never foreseen as possible. One of my favorite ways of doing this is travel. For me, there is no better spark of motivation than breaking out of my daily routine to experience something new. And don’t take this to mean it has to be a flight away either, road trips or even just taking your laptop to a new coffee shop are often more than enough to put that first sentence on the page.
I could fill an oceans-worth of pages all about what writing has done for me