“Why can’t you wait until you’ve figured this out to write it?”
I looked him in the eye. “Because I have to get it out. I’ll explode if I don’t. And writing is how I figure things out. The words and questions and ideas swirl around all mixed up in my brain, but I can bring order to them on paper.”
I’ve always been that way. Even though this particular conversation took place four years ago, I’ve been writing my way through conflicts, crises, grief, and doubt since I was a child pouring my heart out in a diary.
But writing in a diary is private, for one thing. Publishing these incomplete and confused ramblings for all to read is quite another. It’s publicly airing out all the skeletons in the closet. I haven’t found this kind of writing in books… not often. Even when the characters in a story don’t know, the author knows where he or she is going and orchestrates the story to reach that destination.
It isn’t easy to write your way through something, with both you and your reader conscious that you don’t know where this goes. I’ve done it, and I’ve done it poorly. I have failed to make it clear how very in-process it all was. I’ve contradicted myself and interpreted things differently at different times, confusing people trying to follow along. Perhaps this is why few people write this way.