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