“Better to write for yourself and have no public,
than to write for the public and have no self.”
Cyril Connolly 1903 – 1976
English literary critic and writer
It is still holiday time here in New Zealand and today, I had a couple of friends over for lunch. They came early for coffee then we played a couple of hands of mahjong, had lunch and two more rounds of mahjong, then they left. Having tidied up after this lunch I then had to think about my blog post for today.
I thought back on some of the posts I had written early in my blogging career, and I came across one entitled Better to Write, written in January 2012. I particularly liked the quote and thought how much I agreed with it. So I thought I would repost it here, with a few, minor alterations.
Just as some people, particularly children, like to sing I like to write.
I have many notebooks filled with my writing and often it is work that has never been seen by anybody else. The joy in much of this writing was just to get it down on a page.
Of course, with the advent of at least one computer in every home, writing has become easier. Well, the physical act of writing has. No more putting pen to paper but instead sitting at a keyboard and letting the words pour forth. On a good day that is.
But like all writers, whether well-known or like me, just writing for the pleasure of writing, we know what it is like to step up to the page aka computer screen to be faced with a blank sheet. No thoughts on anything. Blank screen and a blank mind. But then something comes and the void is filled.
As writers we are vulnerable. We write about what matters to us and expose ourselves and unveil our deepest feelings. Our words reveal much about us and our truths. And sometimes, because of this, writing feels dangerous. But this is what keeps us (well me at any rate) coming back to the screen/notebook/page. The need to share my feelings on the page with others (hopefully) or just with myself when necessary. It is scary and often I am looking for excuses – the dishes must be done, the washing hung out etc etc, but I keep coming back to the page.
At times we feel the need to judge, to edit our writing. We strive for perfection but we know, unless we are one of the great writers, that perfection is out of reach. Lord Marks of Marks & Spencer fame said “The price of perfection is too great. Close enough is good enough.”
“And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.”
Judith Baxter 1938 –
Writer, Blogger, Friend
JB Wellington, NZ
January 5, 2023