I know this may be weird coming out of my mouth but it’s true. But now I know what I sometimes lack. It is structure. Writers need structure if they want to get anywhere. Up until now I more or less always wrote when I felt like writing, and about anything that I wanted to write about. Sometimes I would take out any notebook, or a page that I would have with me just in case.

However, today I was in a weird kind of anxious mood that I might not be able to finish my book that has the working title “black story”. Guess what? On second thoughts, I basically know that I can write this story no problem, but the main issue is this: 1) How am I going to write the story? 2) How well will I write it? and 3) Will I feel happy with the outcome?

Maybe, there is this misconception about writers being some weird people, sitting there in their ivory tower, waiting for the muse’s kiss and then writing day and night no matter what. That may be good for those people who don’t live in the real world. For those of us who do live in the real world, this behaviour is not just impossible, it would make writing itself impossible. Of course, we all know these moments when you have a big idea and you keep rolling it around inside your head, toying with this or another scenario that could fuel the action. But if truth be told. When you want to develop a sense of style, a sense of direction, a sense of writing something that has a start, a middle part and an ending, you need to get away from this romantic preconception about the writer being removed from the outside world. The writer has to be absolutely within the world outside in order to write something that has an impact on the outside world.

Plus: If you have the feeling that you are remote from the world that other people live in, chances are that the truth is not too far at hand. If you don’t know anything about what’s going on in other people’s lives, that means you can’t write about it. You could create a postulate like “art pour l’art” but that is not helping either. To me it becomes clearer and clearer that poetry / prose (take your pick, it holds true for both) must be connected with life itself and the living people of today. People should have the feeling that you have something to say. Otherwise all writing is in vain.

So, what is my conclusion? I guess that some people will say that this is rubbish but I still hold against it when I am saying this: A poet needs to have structure: in many ways: in the way that he / she writes, in the way that his writing will be connected to the real world. In the way that he needs to sharpen his pen at least every couple of days if not every day in order to be on top of things.

Writing has so much to do with your inner self, with your personal views, with your innermost feelings.

But then, and this is the point, it also is a craft. And a craft needs to be learnt, sometimes through trial and error, and furthermore it needs to be practiced.

What can I learn from this?

I should probably make a plan of 3 or 4 topics that I want to write about, just for the sake of writing, and also for the sake of practicing. Maybe, I should even pick out topics that I don’t usually write about to make things gradually different. And after writing these 3 or 4 entries, I should try to scale these texts in terms of quality, in terms of coherence, in terms of language.

Writing can be fun, but in the first place it is something that no-one reaches mastery without a couple of bad texts in between.

Don’t cry. Work.