Honest writing comes down to one thing: documenting

Honest writing comes down to one thing: documenting

I don’t really like this title, but I think the theme behind it is important, so here goes…

Great writing is honest writing.

Fact.

I think this stands for all art.

And in order for writing to be honest, it first has to be lived.

Which means that, for a writer to be inspired by something, they need to have experienced something, first hand.

This was Kerouac’s excuse anyway. He used to tell his mother, Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, that he was ‘collecting stories’ when he jumped in a car with Neal Cassady and drove cross-country, and that someday he’d write about them.

And it made for great writing. Great writing.

And so, if honest writing comes from experience, then experience a writer must acquire, which means they need to do something worth talking about, and make sure they remember what it is they did.

The purpose of journaling

I’ve journaled since I was 18, when I decided to move to another country and get some ‘experience’ for myself. I had no interest in writing at that time in my life, music was all I knew.

But journaling gave me a new sense of belief. It opened me up to the concept of documenting.

And I soon found myself documenting every day, writing down how I felt about something, what the weather was doing, what I was doing, who I was doing it with.

And all of a sudden I was creating, every day.

Now, looking back, I can tap into those feelings I had five years ago and remember vividly what it was I was doing.

I was belonging.

And thank my lucky stars I documented that time, because the book I’m working on would be nothing without that documentation. And I can tell you, even if it’s no good, it’s an honest account.

I should have titled this piece ‘great writing is honest writing’, but maybe that would be dishonest of me…