This is not “A Finished Product.”

One time I was talking to a painter and as I watched him work I asked “When do you know it’s finished?” He laughed and laughed and never gave me an answer. I don’t really understand what the problem was with that question, but maybe it’s similar to my experience writing.

I write on a piece until I’m done with it, then I set it aside and it becomes “A Finished Product.” I will always talk about “A Finished Product” differently than I talk about writing because they are separate things to me. I always feel good about the act of writing, but I never need to feel good about “A Finished Product.” The finished product for me is separate from the experience of creation. So when I talk about writing for this essay, I will be talking about the verb not the noun. I will be discussing the process of creation, not my finished products.

One of my strengths as a writer is being able to instantly get in touch with my creative source. I just write and write and it comes out like water comes out of a faucet. I guess another way to say this is to state that I am never at a loss for inspiration. Of course, this does not mean that I create an infinite number of finished products. Most of this writing that occurs will never be part of a finished product.

And that’s ok. I do enjoy this part of writing. I like that I have something that brings me fulfillment and joy that does not cost any money. I like that I can create something that wasn’t in existence before. Having something that I practice every day and get better at over time makes me feel like I am doing something meaningful with my short time on Earth.

Another strength I have as a writer is creating a two way street for discussion of ideas. I don’t want to preach to an audience. I think asking questions and planting seeds that will grow in the reader is a much more interesting thing for me to do with writing.

I am better at “What if?” than at stating a thesis and backing it up with evidence, etc. My strong suit, in a word, is fiction. I enjoy writing fiction very much because I practice watching things. Then when it’s time for me to write, I write about what I’ve seen and heard. These things that I’ve seen and heard and want to write about are usually true but unspoken. When I do this correctly it has the effect of perking up a sense of recognition in the reader. Something they had noticed too, but never put into words.

This is when I feel good about “The Finished Product.”

Muriel is the creator of 'Documinutes: 60 second documentaries' and a contributor to the podcast 'This Manic Mama.'

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