I never really listened to authors when they said that they "need" to write in order to function. I thought that this was a little farfetched and untrue, but I've come to the realization that they're onto something.

Throughout the years (I say as if I'm 50), I've dealt with anxiety and depression. This still feels a bit weird to write that out, but thankfully these topics aren't as taboo as they used to be. Basically, my downfall is when I keep everything bottled up and choose to not express my feelings. This is partly due to the fact that I'm an introvert; I don't think to go to a friend to talk an issue out, I simply overthink it or push it aside. When I'm feeling anxious (speaking of the devil - I am right now) thoughts tend to run rampant in my head and I have trouble keeping up with them. That said, I need to write. And I can tell when I haven't been writing. 

When I feel extra stressed or anxious, I write poetry - that's usually when the words come the easiest. Sometimes they're good, and sometimes they're really not. But for some reason, I wanted to share some of those words with you:

There’s not enough breath capacity in these lungs to exhale out, 

to filter out all my feelings. 

I don’t want them to be my feelings. 

Reagan Fleming

There's No Right Way to Write.

Whenever I'm stuck on an idea (or lack thereof) in a story, I tend to turn to quotes from other writers about writing, and why they write. Shoutout to Google. I usually type in: "author writing inspiration," "writing inspiration," or I get very specific and type in: "(specific author) quotes on writing." 

I always knew that being a writer is hard work... writer's block is a real thing. But, the one fact that I think trumps all, is that I love to write. I think that being given the chance to tell someone's story - whether it be real life or your own fictional character - is such a cool task and honor. 

For those of you fighting writer's block this very moment, I thought that I would provide some words of wisdom that have inspired me and given me hope to keep writing:

The desire to write grows with writing.
— Desiderius Erasmus
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
— Ray Bradbury
All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.
— Ernest Hemingway
The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
— Kurt Vonnegut
Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.
— Stephen King
The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
— Anaïs Nin

And my personal favorite:

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
— Anne Lamott

I'd like to end this with my own sage advice: create something. 

No matter the extent of your knowledge about proper grammar or the correct format of writing a book/poem/short story - whatever you have to write will connect with at least one other person in this world. What you have to say and what you have to write matters to someone. Even if it's just yourself.

Reagan Fleming



It's amazing how words we read, a sight that we come across, or something we listen to can evoke many different emotions, all remarkably different to each person. 

In the evolution of my reading preferences, I have gone from Junie B. Jones, to Nancy Drew, to Jane Austen, to Anne Lamott and Charlotte Brontë. (I will always have a place in my heart for little Junie B. That crazy kid.) Looking back at these authors, I realize I was kind of an odd kid since I chose to read Pride and Prejudice for fun when I was 12. Half the time, I didn't know what was going on due to the British lingo, but I enjoyed it and finished it nonetheless. I guess I wanted to know why it is said to be a classic. 

My taste in music has also evolved: Obviously I listened to Hannah Montana, JoBros, Aly & AJ, and I just listened to whatever was on the radio. Now that I am in my 20s, I have a very eclectic taste in music (pop/instrumental/electronic/indie/singer-songwriter). Do I listen to the occasional JoBros? Yes. That is called nostalgia, people, and that is totally normal. 

This past year at college, I wrote down my favorite quotes from books, interviews, song lyrics, poem stanzas, etc. on index cards and taped them up around my desk in my dorm room. I taped said index cards as well as pictures of family and friends in hopes of making it feel more homey. It did its job, and it made my dorm room feel more like my bedroom back home rather than a place that I just inhabit.

I have realized that some statements mean something more to us than others. For instance, there are many times that I get excited about something that I am reading, and I recite back to my friends. More often than not, the other person doesn't like or appreciate the quote the way I do. This forces me to tell myself: Hey, you have eccentric taste, my friend. 

This amazes me about books, poems, essays, songs, and other works of art: there will always be a different interpretation for the audience member. In my high school English classes, I LOVED the questions on exams and homework assignments that gave a quote or an instance that happened in a book we were reading, and it asked you to explain what you thought it meant. I always got these questions correct, because as long as you defended your thought process, there was no wrong answer. That's what I love about art: there are no wrong answers. 

Words, lyrics, paintings, etc. all have the power to move people. An author's words have the power to make their readers not feel so alone in the world, even alone in what they're going through. The reader and the author are able to have this connection, simply from having their words read.

This sums up why I am a writer. I know how much other peoples' words have changed me, and I want to do so for others as well. 

Reagan Fleming