MY 5 TRUTHS ABOUT WRITING

It really is true what they say about writing.. It’s like everything else, the more you do it, the easier it comes. So, after 6 weeks or so of erratic writing due to kids off school and so called ‘summer time’ I am really struggling. I am trying to get a piece together for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Writing Competition which they are running in conjunction with their Mountains To Sea Book Festival and I struggled for 2 days trying to come up with a blog post From My Kitchen Table. That has never happened before. This led me to wonder about writing and having spent the last year or so, trying to get more serious about it I have come up with 5 Truths About Writing. They may not be your truths but I thought I would share them anyway:

Truth No 1
Writing is like exercise. If you don’t practice often (preferably daily) you get rusty and it becomes difficult.

Truth No 2
You can go to classes on writing, read books on writing and go to workshops on writing, forever. They are enjoyable if you are interested in the process of writing as most of us are. But at some stage you actually have to pick up the pen or open the laptop and start writing. I also have a sneaking suspicion that there comes a stage when you need to stop ‘learning’ and start ‘doing’.

Truth No 3
You do need quiet to write. It is impossible to write with noise and distractions all around. Although I still harbour my dream of my writing cabin under the hawthorn tree at the end of the garden, I now realise that if I don’t have the kitchen table to myself, I can take myself and my laptop up to my bed where I can make a fairly comfortable nest and where I can write in the quiet.

Truth No 4
Editors and real journalists are not in fact scary people waiting to shout at you for your ‘unprofessionalism’ or your cheek for having sent them a piece of work. Twitter has helped on that one, where you can converse with all manner of ‘professional’ writers. But I think I have finally realised that if you have a piece of writing that you feel is good, it probably is. Keep working with it and sending it out into the print media universe and it may well find a home!

Truth No 5
Don’t take rejection personally. Or more usually don’t take being ignored personally. Although I still really don’t understand why radio stations, magazines or newspapers can’t just send a quck email saying ‘no thanks’.

So there you have it. None of my Writing Truths are earth shattering or original. Most are common sense. But it has served me well to write them down and share them. And voila I have a blog post!

Photo by Muffet on Flickr
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9 Comments

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  1. Hey, that is the kind of philosophical optimism that I love to see! Keep writing because you love it and because it is a good thing for you…anything else that happens is a bonus. x.

  2. I totally agree Barbara. You have had so much success this year that you have every reason to be proud of yourself.

    I have never been to a writing class (it probably shows) so my blog has become a supportive forum for me and my writing.
    I agree that really we just need to sit down and write, not easy in the summer I agree.
    However, I find, the more I am out and about, I get more ideas so maybe for me summer is like pregnancy, I just need to spend the winter getting my ideas down.
    On a personal note, a big thank you for all your lovely comments on my 'tales' lately, it means a lot.

  3. #2 and #3 are especially true for me. Fortunately I was able to get a lot done this summer because I've got an almost-empty nest and my husband who normally works at home, worked away all day this summer, and that gave me a very very quiet house. It was heaven, especially with the windows open, and the gently billowing curtains.

  4. Your truths don't have to be earth shattering and original. It was a good list. I like the one about not just learning, but doing. People can get trapped in the cycle of classes, workshops, and so on, but not actually WRITE. And I think it works the other way too. If we have some success writing, we shouldn't stop learning.

    I hope you fall into a good writing rhythm soon.

  5. So, so true – especially number 2. It's great to interact and learn but at some point you just have to do it! Thanks for these, Barbara.

  6. All good. I would add to #2 that I did the writing workshop in graduate school, and it was fun; and I have a few very good how-to books but no more than that. I maintain that just reading the actual books/stories will help more than anything. And then of course, you just have to write – where it's quiet!
    Ann

  7. I agree with all your points. Re No 2 I find that going to the occasional writing conference can stimulate fresh writing ideas. Re No. 3 I have produced some good writing on a train… once! And as for rejections No. 5, it's very hard not to take it personally and you're so right. How hard would it be for a publisher to email 'thanks but no thanks'?

  8. Oh thank you all my writing friends for generally agreeing with me! And to Siobhan for thinking I was being philosophical!

    Right – off to write now!

  9. And a good blog post, too. I definitely agree with needing quiet to write. I don't know how some folks write to music. I'd be singing and head-bopping along.

    Patricia

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