The Writing Life

There are writers, and there are readers, readers likely reading more than writers do. After all, whereas all writers are readers, not all readers are writers. I like to write early in the morning and read later during the day. At night, I read sometimes for ten minutes or less, sometimes for two hours or more. I find the tactile connection with the weight of a book and turning the pages calming, as in grounding me. This quiet time with only me and a book is why I prefer print to digital reading. I appreciate digital reading for research, newsletters, and website articles, but the interaction with the screen is distracting to me; it doesn't let me pause and weigh the words of a story.

My Writing Views Marie-Claude Arnott

Writing demands a free state of mind. Painters will tell you that too. For this reason, what I write every day is not good writing, especially if inspiration is resisting me. Furthermore, like any craft or art, writing is the pursuit of learning, and learning grammar in a second language is like doing math in a second language. It adds a layer of difficulty to comprehension. My mother tongue also influences the way I express my thoughts and my choice of words too. As a result, I often double-check my vocabulary, especially idioms that are commonly misused and therefore misinterpreted, especially by me as an ESL writer.

Good writing is difficult. Daniel Hawthorne says it best, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Writing is how I give form to my thoughts. I find the vocal expression more difficult. Sometimes what was meant is not what was heard. In writing, the creative process takes over, extracting from the mind the words that will come together as phrases, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and the story. Writing means that the thought can be refined endlessly. For this reason, my first draft can turn into as many more drafts as necessary until style, syntax, grammar, and vocabulary finally say what I truly meant. Until it becomes easy reading too. It requires both focus and relaxation. It is almost like trying to remember a dream. The more you chase it, the faster it returns to your subconscious.

In the end, writing is a need that I have to satisfy. Some of my friends will tell you that the word gazette—French for periodical—as the subject line of my email means that it won't be a two-liner. Simply, some days, it is with whom I want to share my thoughts.