Free image courtesy of KathrynMaloney at

It’s been a minute, or much more than a minute, since I checked in with my blogger-reader-writer friends. How’s it been? Around here, work and family life have filled every spare moment of mine this past month, except for a few precious minutes before bed–that I give to reading (just finished Dominico Starnone’s Trick, trans. by Jhumpa Lahiri–and I’ll definitely be blogging about it).

Any creative writing I’ve been doing has been mostly in my mind. One thing I’ve been mulling over: why do we write about what we write about? Some write to excise their greatest anxieties. (“Write toward your fear,” go the writing prompts.) Some write to work through a conundrum, to better understand. Why do we pick the subjects we pick? Love, sex, parenthood, sickness, birds, flight, death, water, dance…

An artist chooses his subjects. That is the way he praises.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Why do you create what you create? Why do you write about, what you write about? What compels you? What are you writing–or reading–this weekend? I hope it’s a good one!

Want some more writerly advice? See my categories, above. And, as always, you can also find me at FB and @moonruark on Twitter.

26 thoughts on “a bit of writerly advice for March 7, 2020…

  1. I write to share the stories that cross my path that I don’t want to see disappear forever. I’m always striving to do a better job with the storytelling. Nice to see you, Rebecca. I hope to be posting new stuff soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I look forward to your new “stuff”–you always capture such amazing stories. I’m glad you’re able to rescue them for posterity. And they’re always so fascinating! LOVE your family tree you posted–and I hope you find more family to populate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I, too, haven’t been writing as much lately — I think due to being overly-preoccupied with the doom of the world. [Funny, but the few things I am messing around with are about … you guessed it … doom! So I guess I sometimes write about whatever’s in the Zeitgeist & news! LOL] But I am reading some. I’m just a few pages from finishing Jenny Offill’s Weather, which I’ve enjoyed (and finding oddly prescient about these crazy days we find ourselves in), and I just bought Lily King’s Writers & Lovers, as well as Peter Kispert’s I Know You Know Who I Am, Lidia Yuknavitch’s Verge, and Amber Sparks’ And I Do Not Forgive You. Also, I’m going back to a touchstone for me: Mary Robison’s Days. Wishing you a productive reading & writing month, Rebecca! Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, doom. Ugh. It does seem to put a gray cloud over writing days, which are hard to come by anyway. Offill’s new book has been on my radar, as has Sparks’ new one (she’s all over Twitter, so I feel like I know her work already, though I don’t). I imagine the latter is pretty sharp and funny. And I had to look of Robison, I have to admit. Can’t believe I never ran across Oh!–set in the Midwest and following the Cleveland family. Don’t I wish I’d written that one! Thanks for sending me down that rabbit hole. Great piece I’m reading on Robison’s work here:
      Happy writing–and safe living with plenty of hand-washing for all of us! Thanks for stopping by, Deb!


  3. I have a passion for social justice and our natural world and this drives me. I write to be honest, otherwise what is the point? I write to clarify what is important in my own mind. I like to take on the “sacred cows” of our culture because I want to encourage people to question the way we are told to think. Having said that, I have been self-censoring lately because I too have a tendency to lecture and no one likes that! I also write to inform people about all the horrible and wonderful things that are my country, hence lots of photos. I write to have fun and build a sense of community.

    Thanks for the question, Rebecca. It made me think. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind. 😉

    Life does get busy, doesn’t it? Hope March is a good month for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on writing to clarify what’s important even to ourselves. In our frenzied world, it’s difficult to slow down enough to truly contemplate, and I also think that writing helps us do that. One thing I really love about blogging here is meeting friends from around the globe–I greatly appreciate your posts and photos. They certainly open up a new part of the world to me, one I’ve never seen in person. Thank you for chiming in here–and I hope your March brings you all you want from writing, reading, and life in general!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I used your (fabulous!) quote on my most recent post, which kind of answers your question here. I write about subjects that are on my mind at that time. Whatever God/the muse/the broccoli sends to me gets blended together and put down. Because of this, I wonder if that’s how it works for other writers, too. As in, if you’re reading X, does that make its way into your own work right then? Or does it come out later? Because I believe it comes out eventually. Whatever we take in (books or life experience), makes its way to the page at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just checked out your recent post–and I’m so glad my thoughts inspired you to (much more cohesively than I did) express how fear motivates the writing process. I do think we writers use the page as therapy, making sense of our fears and anxieties by writing them out. And I think you’re right, sometimes it takes a short time and sometimes years and years to process what we’ve experienced enough that it can come out in our writing. I just read something (from a Graham Greene novel) I found interesting: “For writers it is always said that the first twenty years of life contain the whole of experience–the rest is observation.” I’m not so sure about that (or maybe I’m just slow) but I think I’ve done quite a lot of experiencing past age 20–especially as a wife and mother. Hopefully, as you say, God or the muse or whatever else is still at work for us, if we make it a point to continue experiencing life. I’m not ready to only observe!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I write because otherwise I’d probably rong and being rong is a sort of antiwoke and that would never do living in a bastion of liberal elite gushmushery that is 2020 london. They’d revoke my bus pass and make me talk in a Scouse accent if I ever did that and apart from being marmite infused avocado crisps I can’t think of much worse. Catching my elbow on a passing yodeller would be worse, obviously but yodelling is only allowed on the tenth floor or above to replicate its Alpine roots and avoid accusations of cultural appropriation and poor tune management so the risks are minimal. Like Sir Edmund Hillary said when asked why he climbed Everest ‘Because it’s there’ is probably as good an explanation why I commit my most coherent thoughts to paper (other forms of media are available).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I started writing to raise awareness, to educate, to share. I think I now write more for me, to express, still to share.
    I weirdly also write to leave my print. A tiny dot on a never ending universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I write my blog posts because they’re things I can’t NOT write. Trust me, there are two posts I wish I hadn’t written, that I didn’t want to write when I was writing them. It’s not that they didn’t turn out well, it’s that I was in emotional pain the entire time I wrote them.
    When I’m writing my novel, it’s like playing with my imaginary friends. That’s why I love it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it helps. Sometimes fiction is a little easier as you can take the thought or feeling and examine it with a little distance or through another character’s eyes. I think, maybe???

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s