Thursday, 8 January 2015

WRITERS ON WRITING #59: Kristina Haynes

...I think, as writers, we’re never really satisfied.  I think we’re all perfectionists and even the work we decide to finally publish and let the world see isn’t ever as good as we think it can be.  I think we are always criticizing ourselves and pushing ourselves to be better, to produce more writing, to edit it down, to fatten it up, to just keep going over our poems and prose and to constantly write everything we see and say down so that we can look back however many pages and go 'Yes yes let me write about this, let me write about the exact color of the sidewalk after it rains' — it’s exhausting.  Because we document everything.  Or try to.  As accurately and as detailed as possible.  But as for knowing if our words are ever worth anything…
  Yes, I think it’s possible to know.  Our writing is definitely worth something.  I mean, personally, I get plenty of asks from the sweetest people telling me how this poem helped them or how that poem opened their eyes to an issue they didn’t realize they were dealing with, etc.  I think that once you can get past yourself, when your words are so tangible that other people can just reach right out and grab hold of them and try them out and let them sit or run or catch, then we’re doing our job.  But I think that there is always going to be a level of self-doubt, no matter how many books we publish or how well known our work becomes.  I mean, some of us are clearly destined to be #1 on The New York Times bestseller list and I can guarantee you that while they may be confident that their work is good, they probably don’t see it as good enough.  And may never see it as good enough.  
  But yeah, I think that your writing is worth something.  Because you’re proactive about it.  You care.  You want it to be worth something.  I think writing is always worth it.  It’s a brave thing, to sit down at a desk or on the floor or a coffee shop or library or wherever and want to write about how you feel.  To describe a moment, or a series of moments.  To put your heart into it.  To want others to feel what you’re saying.  To want others to understand.  
  Yes, your writing is worth something.  It’s everything.  It’s everything you put into it.  At the end of the day, if at least one person comes to me and tells me that X poem helped them, my writing is worth something.  And sometimes, sometimes that person that I helped, sometimes it’s me.  So yes.  It’s worth it.  If not for anyone else, then for yourself.

Blog post  [26 November 2013]


Click HERE to visit The Shipfitter's Wife, the Tumblr blog of poet, writer and actress KRISTINA HAYNES.

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