Writing is creation.
I have held to this belief for as long as I can remember, and even wrote a blog about it a few months ago. To be a writer is to be a creator, and a creator puts himself in his writing. Like the typical Christian-ese phrase says, “The creation speaks of the Creator”, and I’ve always felt that writing is just like that. My creations should be demonstrating me, and pointing back to my abilities; there should be some defining characteristic of my work that makes people pause and say, “Ah, that is definitely Daniel’s creation.”
Yet Bret Lott in his book Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian, completely turns my thinking upside down. He describes the mindset that he used to have when he first began writing, a mindset nearly identical to mine, and pointed out a lesson he learned from Raymond Carver: to get out of the way.
Lott learned that he needed to get out of the way of his own writing. The writer should be the very last thought on any reader’s mind, with all focus on the characters and the work they are doing. Rather than the creation speaking of the creator in writing, the creation should be speaking for itself.
This idea of me getting in the way of my own writing really sends my mind for a loop. Everything I do, I need to have a hands-on approach, and I must leave my mark. Yet, Lott suggests that for my writing to truly develop into anything, I must swallow my pride and get out of the way. Easier said than done, but it’s worth a shot I suppose.