I’ve been a writer, of some sort, my entire life. Before I could write, I let my stories play out in the form of crayons on paper. I played with stuffed animals and created plots aloud. I easily put myself in the famous slippers of Cinderella, the rugged boots of an Amazon warrior girl, and perhaps both at the same time.
When I began to write, it was no different. Instead of acting out the stories, I’d simply scribble them on a piece of wide-ruled paper with my jumbo pencil. In truth, writing really isn’t that different from the childhood pretending we all used to do (or, admittedly, still do). It’s playtime for the literate and grown, a time to let the mind go wild in a whirlwind of inspiration. It is pretending on paper.
But what makes writing good? What makes it fatty and juicy, so unlike some of the tough, dry writing we’ve all had to read before?
In this sense, writing is more than just childhood pretending. It is the marriage of poetry and prose, the joining of fantasy and reality. Some common force bursts from the literature we call “amazing” or “well-written.”
In my opinion, it’s heart. There is no such thing as good writing without one. Some of my best poems have been scooped from the thick goop of pain-joy mix in the deepest crevices of my soul. Others have emerged from a garden of ideas as light and airy as a seersucker dress. Writing comes from within, some white-hot center of us that burns with creative thought.
When we tap into the same spirit and innocent zeal that drove us as children, our best ideas can be molded into great sculptures using the everlasting clay of words.