Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Friday, 10 February 2012

IF YOU’RE A WRITER – WRITE

I’ve thought a lot recently about what it means to be A Writer. Not so much about writing as about being a writer.

Sometimes it seems that being a writer means having something – anything – published. And having something published is good, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve come to the conclusion that for me being a writer is, above everything, about writing. If I’m not writing I’m not A Writer. And more than that I’m not me.

There are courses that encourage you to only write the best you can write, or to write morning pages every morning no matter what, or to send everything you write out to magazines/publishers/agents.

These things can work for some people. I’ve tried various routes – only writing when I feel inspired, going over things I have written until I’ve edited them to death, writing a daily journal, writing only fiction. And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter exactly what approach I take – as long as I’m writing. Mostly in the morning, mostly every day, mostly fiction – but above all writing all the ideas and stories that are in my head. Sometimes I can’t think my thoughts until I’ve typed them. Weird I know - but true for me.

One thing I’ve learnt is to let myself write what I want to write. I may have an outline I’m working towards, and that can help – or it can be ignored. I may have no idea what I’m doing. But strangely as soon as I put pen to paper or fingers to (icy) keyboard, I realise there are words there waiting to be written down. Sometimes I can make something pretty good out of them. Sometimes they just make me smile and aren’t to be shared. Sometimes they are complete rubbish. But that’s fine. They’re mine and they’re an experiment in this writing life I lead.

The conclusion I’ve reached is that if you don’t write, you aren’t a writer. So the answer is – write! Try and do a little every day. A little may turn in to a lot, or may not, but it will still be something.

And if you’re like me, your life will be a little richer for doing it.

13 comments:

  1. You're absolutely right, Gill - it's that magical process of putting the words on paper or computer that allows us to be creative. There is such satisfaction in seeing a piece take shape too, no matter whether it's roughly planned or develops form vague ideas.

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  2. Nice post, Gill. Much to identify with - not least the part where you don't realise that's what you think until you write it down.

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  3. A lovely post - and I totally agree. If you write - you're a writer. And we all have our own ways of persuading those (sometimes)(frequently!) elusive words to stop lurking in the shadows of our minds and come dancing out onto the paper. Okay - stumbling, whatever. So long as they emerge.

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  4. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that writing was an addiction, and if you're anything like me you'll go into withdrawals if you're prevented from writing. I don't know about you, but I'm a lost cause!

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  5. Couldn't agree more, Gill. I too find that the story unfolds as I write it. Magic coming out of the fingers.

    Bumped into someone I hadn't seen for ages a little while back. She asked me if I was "still writing." As my husband said, that was like asking me if I was still breathing.

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  6. You're so right, Gill. I love your idea of the writing process crystallising your thoughts.

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  7. Thanks for all the comments. It's good to know that I'm not alone in this. Although I'm not quite sure I like the sound of 'My name is Gill and I'm a writerholic'. Naw, Chris, this is a good addiction!

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  8. I agree writing, whether with pen and paper, or to the computer, brings a sense of satisfaction and feels like the natural thing to do. If that is addiction then I'm an addict but I like it that way.

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  9. A very famous name once told me she only feels like a real writer when she's got something currently in print.....and I kind of like that idea as it keeps me focused on getting the stuff out, seeing my name - real or pseudonym - out there. I mean, why else would I be in this freezing cold garret in fingerless gloves......tee hee.

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  10. Yes, Gill, writers have to write and I think writing is a kind of compulsion for many of us. There is obviously no cure or why else would we keep doing it? It is not as if it is always enjoyable, the majority of writers scarcely make more money at it than they'd get stacking shelves in a supermarket yet if we were denied pen and paper or access to a computer we'd probably go bad.

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  11. Sorry, meant mad, not bad. On reflection, though, perhaps bad is the correct word anyway!

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  12. Maybe mad and bad Mary.

    And Linda - I don't say i don't want to get my books into print. I do! But I think it's so easy as a writer to talk about writing, read about writing (read blogs about writing...) and not actually DO enough. That was what I was thinking at the time, anyway.

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