This week I bumped into a friend from my writing class of last year and discovered he has just written a play (despite multiple demands on his personal life at the moment) and, upon reflection, it has spurred me on to reinvigorate my own writing.
Writers read and readers write, but sometimes it’s easy to get cocooned into one stream or the other and recently, I’ve been very much sailing down the reading route… Of which there is nothing at all wrong in doing, but the novel-writing has taken a back seat of late and I know this is partly due to the aforementioned, and the fact I have yet to hear back from all of the publishers I submitted the first book to. (I’m determined to wait them out before I post my experiences and feed back on the holy grail of rejection which pretty much all writers must endure on the path to publication. Agents, I have found, are much more quick to dismiss you than the people who publish…)
Anyway, on the back of my last post, which referred to the inspiration gleaned from writing groups/articles etc, it was a nice coincidence to stumble upon this very thing myself soon after.
Writing is a discipline and when you edit news-writing every day, do a blog every week, write some articles and scribble a few notes or sentences down for your book, you can fool yourself into thinking you’ve been rather busy. Well, ok, this is true of course, except that the writing in question is other people’s; akin to journaling; journalism; and, well, fairly sparse ‘creative writing’ respectively.
A friend asked me this week how to protect her voice ahead of teaching experience and, as I emailed her my tips (as a former speech and language therapist), I found there were parallels with writing (stay with me on this):
Good vocal care primarily requires rest, being relaxed, lack of stress, fresh air and an awareness of how you use your voice (amongst other things).
Good writing requires rest (time, perhaps, spent reading to inspire your own words), being relaxed (an uptight writer will invariably find it difficult to put pen to paper), lack of stress (pressurising yourself to produce perfect prose/poetry etc – and quickly – or comparing yourself to others will more likely result in unsatisfactory work and less of it), fresh air (well, I find a lot of inspiration for my writing comes when I’m out walking my dog around the coast, and it helps to clear the mind and get out of the house – taking note of the world around you) and, finally, an awareness of how you’re writing (are you using a particular style; have you adapted to the audience you want to write for; are you integrating any advice given to you by fellow writers etc).
So, all in all, with writing, as with any other area in life, a little thought and care, I think, into how you do it will reap rewards. Having reassessed my own writing portfolio, I recognise that it’s a bit of a kaleidoscope of genres and that not all are currently equally attended to, but… I’m constantly inspired by the people I interact with to reassess what I’m doing and, who knows, that second novel may get finished yet…