I love writing but...
I love writing. I really do. Ever since I read Peter Elbow’s Everyone Can Write: Essays Towards a Hopeful Theory of Writing and Teaching Writing (Italics mine). It does what it says on the tin. It gives hope! The discovery writing brings is therapeutic, calming and enlightening. Elbow suggests Free Writing is the key to unlock the creative mind. What is Free Writing, you may ask? Elbow (2000) suggests it’s ‘simple, private, non-stop writing’ p85. Not editing as you go, not showing anyone, not worrying about spelling, grammar or structure and not worrying about how good it is. Now, that’s easier said than done. The thinking my writing is awful idea. It infiltrates the corners of my mind and stops me from tapping away on my keyboard every day. But I ignore it. Took a while to learn but it works if you just believe Mr. Elbow and put it into practice. I first heard of the concept in my first MA module last year as Peter Elbow was on the reading list. Our tutor Sophie Nicholls commented in the first module ‘Writing and editing are two different skill sets.’ A revelation. Confirming Peter Elbow’s ideas. Write all your words. Take a break. Edit. Such a revelation but also a cause of frustration to me!
Why a source of frustration, this writing life? I like to do things swiftly and efficiently. Work, shopping, conversations, meals. Done and dusted in the shortest time possible. I’m currently involved in a WIP for an anthology, deadline last day of December. As I’m writing today I realise I’m going to have to get it all down-don’t criticise your work, Rebecca! I then need to wait a day or two before looking at it with fresh eyes and editing begins. The editing may need to be done many times to create the sentences I’m happy with. No passive voice, adverbs, sticky sentences. A shameless plug for Pro Writing Aid there. Google it. Your life will change editorially! So, back to my anthology piece. I can’t whizz through it. I have to wait to be able to see with fresh eyes. It just takes so much time and I want it done and dusted in a day. Not going to happen. I’m okay with that. It’s taken a while to learn that writing is wonderful and magical but darn hard work but so worth it.
Anything you struggle with in your writing life? Drop me an email or connect on social media. I’d love
Benny the Siberian isn’t concerned with such lofty ideals as the writing life so he is snoozing today!