The Day I Started Writing

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

He says: „Lena, we have to write“.

He’s right, and so we make a pact. Two pages until next Monday, no matter what about. Pulling oneself together, write down anything, good or bad, the most important thing is to write. Writing as a necessity? He says: „Lena, I can’t write in a linear way. I can’t say, here’s the plot, here’s the twist and here are the characters. One day, I’ll write a linar novel, only to prove to myself that I can do it.“ I say: „I can only write in a linear way. I’m not an author of great prose.“ After a short moment I add: „You know, I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book.“

Too often my thoughts start with „One should one day…“ instead of „Tomorrow, I will…“. I’ve never been known as a go-getting person who implements all the fuzzy ideas in her head. My thoughts are dominated by projects and intentions, that take turns in being at the forefront of my thinking, but that in the end disappear before they have the opportunity to turn into deeds.

That’s the case with my things, ranging from the typical New Year’s resolutions of doing more sports and healthy eating to the old student adage to start presentations and exam preparation earlier next semester. But it’s especially bad when it comes to writing. For years I’ve had the plan to actually write something down, more than the ridiculous beginnings of obscurely romantic indie love stories that after two pages, skimmed once again, end up in the waste paper bin. Too boring, a bad copy of what I have read and approved of, too many things borrowed here and there, and in the end, almost no Lena.

I have problems, or I construct them –

First of all, what is this Lena that I just cannot find in my literary baby steps? Some say that only by writing you can find to yourself, but don’t you at least need a vague idea of the self in order to be able to write down something that is truly you, something that is not a bad mixture of literary idols and your own confused thoughts?
Pretentiously, I like to speak of myself as a complex person without knowing what this acutally means. Is that where the problem is? Do I believe that I am so complex that my personality simply cannot express itself? That would be quite arrogant and obstructive for all writing. Thesis dismissed.

Then there is the constant fear of failure. I hate not getting things done the way I want them to be. Often I chose the easy way and don’t even try. You can’t mess up what you don’t try to do. Failures frustrate me disproportionately, and I question all of my abilities and talents. I have to overcome my weaker self if one day I really want to finish writing something. So far, I’ve always found a more or less successful way out of situations that did not offer an option called “avoid”, so I can imagine that writing, too, is a must-do.

A children’s book. As a child, I almost exclusively read non-fiction, or rather flipped through it, through the Fisher World Almanac and through the Small Encyclopedia of Mathematics which back then I didn’t understand and I still don’t understand today. I can hardly remember any children’s books. Where am I supposed to start if I have no basis? For some days, ideas have been buzzing around in my head, ideas for the plot and for the characters, ideas for the point of view and for the target group of what should later grow into a novel. It’s about time that the ideas turn into written words, that “later” becomes a specific point in time. Therefore, 9 April 2012 is the day that I start writing with no excuses and no compromises, in order to prove something to him, to prove something to me, and to keep the pact.

This text was also published in German on Lena’s personal blog.


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