When we sit down and do the physical act of writing, it is then that we feel the majority of our emotions about writing. The session might go smoothly, and we feel like, okay we can do this. Or the session might make us want to tear our hair out, either from internal or external interruptions. But writing is not only done in these moments. We write while doing the dishes, or going for a walk. We write in the shower. We write as we fall asleep at night. Many times I find myself writing while I read. The sparked idea rarely has much to do with the text in front of me. That’s all it is, a spark.
In the song “Last Hope,” Paramore’s Hayley Williams sings, “It’s just a spark but it’s enough to keep me going/And when it’s dark out and no one’s around it keeps glowing.” These little sparks of inspiration come at the right time, and turn you from a disappointed writer into an exhilarated writer. Suddenly, when I get up off the writing chair and step into life, the sparks fly at me.
I come up with a poem while taking a walk from my apartment to the park. A lyric comes to me while I wash my hair. I copy down lines from a book that interest me, and then my own words start to flow.
I think the difference between someone who writes, and a writer, is this: A writer greets the page regularly (and if you have kids, or something or someone in your life that requires your attention, I do of course believe you’re a writer if your “regular” is more “irregular”!), and someone who writes usually only chases the spark. The truth is that we need the balance between the spark and the chair. We know that we’re writers, but we have to prove it to our brains, who want to believe that we would rather engage in a TV Binge or a couple of hours of scrolling on our phones.
Writing is a fever dream, because it comes to you in bouts of madness and adventure, begging you to engage with it, and fill scraps of paper and post-its and margins… and in the “morning,” your time at the seat, the dream is just a wisp, and you wonder if it was ever real at all.