In my Creative Writing class this week, the instructor provided a quote from a famous poet named Marianne Moore. This quote gave me a powerful sense of inspiration, which is ironic given the nature of the quote.
The quote is as follows:
“I never knew anyone who had a passion for words who had as much difficulty saying things as I do.” – Marianne Moore
All writers know the prevalence and power these words carry when faced with writing something outside a normal academic paper or Facebook status. As a writer, I have been plagued with terrible cases of writer’s block in the past. There were times when I would literally stare at my computer screen for more than two hours while listening to music. During that time, I would never minimize the page or go do something else. Staring at the computer, I would just blink my eyes in rhythm with the music, tap my foot in frustration, and sigh with exasperation every few minutes. Nothing would come to mind, and I would become more and more frustrated at my inability to write anything with substance.
In fact, this quote provided me with so much inspiration, that I instantly sat in front my screen with my hands on the keyboard for more than thirty minutes without actually writing anything. It seems Marianne was onto something when she said that it is possible to have a powerful passion for words but have complete difficulty in actually saying said words.
A good example of this difficult writing would be the sheer amount of stories that have fluttered through my mind. I once thought of a story set in a fantasy world that mixed several fantasy cliches into a story of heroism, magic, ancestry, and spiritual awakening. I visited a local restaurant and wrote for a few hours while attempting to take all of the ideas and put them on paper. After hours of writing, I had come up with some interesting ideas that I believed would make an exciting story. As I sat down at my computer to start writing the story, I drew a complete blank. I could describe the intricacies of each character, the nuances of the magical powers, and the variations of spoken languages all day. However, as soon as it came to writing out my story, I could not complete more than three sentences without scratching it out or quitting in anger.
One time, I was able describe a dream I had in intricate detail to a friend. Each moment stood out in my mind like a vivid memory. Unfortunately, when I started to write about the dream, whether it was just to put it on paper or to create a story inspired by the dream, I came up with nothing. How does that even happen when I just described the dream in great detail out loud?
Marianne Moore spoke volumes to my inner monologue. Unfortunately, it seems my plight is a slight different than hers. I can speak out loud about the descriptions of my thoughts with ease. Hand me a pen and paper, and I will freeze up like a deer caught in headlights. Apparently, this incredible woman was able to use language so effectively that she could make a point about something in very few words. Her sentence structure and language use was so precise and efficient that she was able to paint a proverbial picture with a minimal amount of words. I find this strange as her quote suggests that she struggled with such a task. Interestingly enough, her skills landed her a Pulitzer Prize along with several other awards and esteems. Either way, I envy the ability to write with such precision.
The best advice I have ever received in regards to writing was to write what you love. If a person is forced to write about something for which he or she has no love, the words will be empty vessels written out of spite. But if a writer writes something out of love for the subject, then the words are instantly filled with a powerful substance. Think of it like a singer forced to listen to his or her own voice. A singer must love the sound of his or her voice before others will respond in kind. Write what you love, and love what you write. Everything will flow smoothly, and you’ll find your words carry more weight than anything else in your life.
For more information about Marianne Moore, check out this page here: