Write Now :: Inspiration

It was a few years ago that an Open University Creative Writing Course was taken to kick-start creativity. The first thing I was told, on almost the opening page of my Unit booklet, was that there’d need to be a notebook for ideas. This, initially, was met with much internal hilarity: when there are ideas, I just write them down complete online. Why on Earth would there be the need to keep notes?

Several years on, there is not a day where a notebook is not close by.

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Poetry is odd stuff: I’ll get a line in my head sometimes and then scrabble to keep it intact. That’s where pen and paper beat electronic means such as my phone, though I will freely admit that my tablet (and Pages) has become a useful fall-back notepad late at night or early in the morning. However, it’s those moments when a full-blown plot appears out of left field and EVERYTHING needs to be remembered now where this form is a massive boon.

Most of the stuff in the Book Of Shame is accompanied by such handwritten notes: both Already Grown and Reboot to Shell emerged fully formed. Occasionally it will only be a title that starts the process, and that was today’s revelation. 24 Adjectives for Pain was  begun from a conversation between myself and my Physiotherapist, and now needs titles to accompany the journey from flab to fit. The notebook will be put to good use in the next few days, of that I have no doubt.

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Writing should be a constantly evolving process: if it’s not, how do you ever get better? Once upon a time there was no need to be organised, but with so much else going on… without it, I’m frankly lost. Listing to other people’s wisdom pays dividends, people, it is why there’s so much stating the obvious going on all around you. What may seem obvious to one person is inevitably news to somebody else.

If all else fails, a notebook can be used for shopping lists and doodling in traffic jams.

 

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‘Why do you write?’

Sometimes, it is compulsion: a injustice observed, moment recalled or future imagined. Often the urge strikes at an inopportune moment. It’s why a notepad and pencil have more significance than transcribing into the Cloud or dictating into an iPhone. Whilst fingers can grasp an implement, the default is always a pencil, making it easier to correct mistakes. There are many in those initial moments. Then there’s my keyboard, copy of an old style typewriter, to remind of the days that was the only option when creating formal work.

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‘What do you write about?’

Everything is up for debate, nothing beyond the remit. Once upon a time, for about thirty years, poetry was evil and impossible to fathom, but with patience and thought that fear is now overcome. I dealt with learning difficulties and social dysfunction via blogging, granting a freedom of expression that remains a constant joy to manipulate. It’s also a source of amusement to observe the interpretations of what gets written. Those loved the most in that regard grasp that writing, like most forms of expression, is supposed to offer at least some level of ambiguity unless you’re told otherwise…

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‘What does writing mean to you?’

Words are my salvation, and my Kryptonite. To be able to express myself is the greatest joy and freedom that has ever been granted in my half a century on the Planet. This is not about a massive follower count or critical acclaim, because neither of those will ever grant the same joy as a well-written story or the blog post that truly expresses my feelings. When those words fail me, inability to express what ails or distracts, it is as if I’ve been struck down. The incapability to write, once destroyed, brings relief that cannot ever be appreciated enough.

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‘What is your favourite writing form?’

Blogging (literally) saved my life when all other effective forms of communication had failed, so to admit a soft spot for just being able to write ‘today I woke up and felt happy’ probably ranks quite highly. However, the storytelling aspects of the craft are where the real satisfaction increasingly lies. There’s been an extension of that into photography too in the last couple of years, and that media degree in my twenties might yet have some actual use going forward.

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‘What advice would you get to start people writing?’

Routine and practice, as is the case in most pursuits, will garner real returns. However, for some people the ability to do this daily can end up stifling creativity, so the better path inevitably includes finding a routine that suits your lifestyle. Write everything down. Planning in advance will help, especially if you’re writing a massive fantasy epic from scratch. The best advice of all however is be you, especially in blogging. An audience will invest in your life far more readily than you will realise, and the more that is given… that’s up to you. All of this, ultimately, is in your hands.

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