I am not a writer; though I would say that my writing has gotten better the more I have done it. At least I would like to think so. What I am finding out, is that writing is a lot like working rituals, playing guitar, or nearly anything else that one might choose to do so. The more you do it, the better you are at it. And the more you work with it, such as editing after a period of writing, the better you can make it sound to the human ear or read to the human eye.
Oddly enough, this month – November – is the National Novel Writing Month (or something like that). I have changed its acronym for me to NaWriMo – for National Writing Month. I am participating, but am not really writing a book. My word count will be a culmination of my blog posts (which I have a schedule for these), my writings for my Bardic Gwers studies during the month, and some preliminary work I am doing towards a potential published work (though that’s not a completely set thing at the moment). But the point is that I am writing – and doing so with determination and dedication. And that, in my mind, is important.
I have always looked and listened in awe of people who play the guitar. The way their fingers fret the chords, the manner in which they pick the strings to get that “right” note. I listen intently to the way they make their instrument “sing” and feel the emotion they put into their playing. I also feel pangs of jealousy, as I wish I could do the same. And I’ve always been under the impression that you found a good guitarist by just placing the instrument in their hands. The guitar would then magickally start playing wonderfully. The stark reality is a lot different than I realized.
It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of practice, and a lot of determination to play an instrument. Yes, there’s talent involved in all of that, but an individual can learn to play the guitar nicely without that level of talent that turns you into, say, a Stevie Ray Vaughn, or a Jimi Hendrix or Randy Rhoads. The key, I have been told by many guitar playing friends, is drive and determination. Not just to learn the instrument, but to learn to play within the rhythm structure of a song. The talent aspect is what allows players to improvise off of what they have learned – adding to the sound. Or creating their own sound from thin air. But before all of that happens, there’s the basics.
I am finding that writing follows the same pattern. To learn to write, you have to – well – write. And a lot of what you write in the beginning will look like pure shit later on in life. I still have papers I wrote back in 2000 and 2001 during my Bachelor’s degree. And I was not good. I managed to get information into my paper, I learned to cite passages from other writers and sources correctly, but rarely did I postulate or theorize. My writing style, if I may say so, was dull and uninspiring. But then, most technical writing tends to have that characterization.
Even if you go back in this blog, and read the stuff I was writing previously, you will find a plodding style of writing. And you will find a lot of errors in what I have written. Proofing blog posts is still a tough thing for me to do. But I have been learning over time. My writing may only be a bit better than it was before; however, it IS getting better. Why? Because I spend more time doing it. Granted, my sentence structure could probably use a lot of help, and I will never achieve a writing status of any major (or even minor) author. It is really the process of writing every day that helps me.
See, doing something every day develops one’s style – which I will theorize changes over time. The more you do something, the more comfortable you get doing it. Then aspects of it become second-nature. Your mind learns to write with a rhythm to the keyboard. Just like your mind learns to toe-tap to “Anytime” by Journey when it plays on the radio.
The same can be said for doing ritual work, magick work, or any other aspect of your spiritual life. You want to get better at leading rituals? Do them. Do them badly. Learn from what did not work. Learn from what did. Adapt as necessary. You want to get better at magick? Do it. Do it badly. Learn from what didn’t work. Learn from what did. Adjust as needed. Want to learn guitar? Do what I am doing. Play badly. Play badly, OFTEN. Learn from it. Adapt as needed. But above all of that, have the drive and desire to get better.
So, why do I write the blog? To get my thoughts down in some form. I do go back and read the earlier blog posts here. And I do adjust my thinking on things from time to time. And I do post about those adjustments. But mostly, I hope that someone will get something out of what I am writing. I’m a solo Pagan. I’m a Druid. As reluctant as I am to say it, I’m a Priest. All of that means something to me. Deeply. If what I write resonates within someone else, and provides a potential pathway for them to grow in their own Spirituality; then as far as I am concerned, the blog has served its purpose. Even if it is only one person.
To achieve that singular goal, I write. And as I write more, I become more articulate in how I express my thoughts in the written format. In other words, I grow. For me, the writing process documents where I have been, where I am, and where I hope to go. In a manner of speaking, writing in the blog writes a part of the history of me. But it is only a part of that history. My personal journals document other aspects of my life as well. Taken together, I am slowly creating a History book about me.