09 March 2011

The Imperfect Writer

by Carrie Bailey

Apparently I have weaknesses as a writer... I write too much or too little, but never steadily, but that's the reality of the creative life. Inspiration plays an important role. The question I ask myself as I embark on the challenge I've undertaken to write every weekday for 28 days is whether or not consistency matters. Certainly meeting deadlines makes a difference. Fulling obligations does as well. Yet obligations to do the creative writing, which serves no purpose other than meeting my own goals, holds me accountable to only myself.

This writing pays no bills except in my dreams. It goes unfinished. It sits in a file on my laptop. It's rejected, ignored and forgotten.

It was also the deepest expression of my experience and reflection on the unique position I hold in the world. In writing I attempt to capture and share the perspective that only I can contribute to the world. I write for the same reason I read. A hope to communicate and connect with others. Every time I hold a book or story in my hands that momentary glimpse of understanding floods my life with meaning.

And so I write because I believe that someone will want to read my story, because I know I want to read theirs. My stories lack the elements of other writers. Occasionally, they lack any content that I want to be associated with at all. My writing on my worst days reveals my weaknesses, the moments I do not want to remember, embarrassment, boredom, and fatigue... but they are every bit as much an expression of my personal experience as my best work.

So, in writing everyday I capture the worst of who I am like photo taken when I wasn't looking, unprepared... one eye closed and eating something terribly unhealthy. Perhaps I could delete that photo, but there's a truth about people that I hope applies to me as much as others. While we may seek perfection, we're loved for what makes us who we are and the things that endear us to each other are not the moments when we're at our best, but when we're most human.

I don't mean typos. I mean that undefinable less-than-inspired writing. That may not be what I want to write, but it's full of elements anyone can relate to... and besides... writing even on the days of most glaring imperfection doesn't prevent me from editing on the days that are.

Carrie Bailey is the editor of Peevish Penman and is on day 27 of a 28 day challenge to write consistently.

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