from little things...
Writing that makes one stop, think and feel is what I aspire to. Even if just to make one other person feel less alone in the world. The more I read writing like this, the more I want to write.
Up until recently, I wrote for myself, study or work.
Writing for others is different. Like most, I struggle with self-doubt.
‘Is my work good enough?’
‘Will anyone other than friends / family / colleagues want to read it?’
I take comfort from knowing all writing is rehearsal for the writer that I do want to become.
- Stories and poems as a child: Armed with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of spelling, grammar and fairy tales, I first learnt to experiment with expression and imagination.
- Essays for high school and uni: Those dreaded essays on 1984 and international politics taught me how to analyse and present an argument clearly and logically.
- Diaries and travel journals: Writing without expectations has allowed me to identify patterns of behaviour and thinking while developing material to draw on for future.
- QTBs, min reps, Cab subs: My day job is drafting detailed yet clear advice on complex, technical policy. Oh, and staying detached because it will be revised.
- A personal blog (private for years until I took the leap): Desperate for a distraction and creative outlet, I turned to blogging and tried writing for a wider audience.
- Reviews of local art festivals: As a Papercuts reviewer, I learnt to paint a scene (and pass judgement) in 460 words and to 24-hour deadlines. It was my first time being selected for a writing opportunity and working with an editor – woo!
Like any craft, stringing words, paragraphs and chapters into the story you want to tell is a process that takes time, courage and faith. Each piece – regardless of its genre, subject or theme – gives us the confidence to stretch that little bit further.
To submit that review, short story or manuscript. To apply for that residency or fellowship. Or in my case, to write that memoir I want to (especially after he said, “But you’re not famous.”)
Since being selected for HARDCOPY 2015, I’ve discovered an amazing community of writers with which to share the struggles, obsessions, joys and importantly, to learn from one another.
To write is a privilege. A privilege not possible without the people who love, even when words fail us (and especially then). To those cheering me on from the sidelines, I have these words:
I'm saving the acknowledgement page for you.