Wednesday, August 16, 2006


After reading Jen's blog it got me thinking about the practice of writing, and why I do it. Maybe I should start with a bit of background....

Why I started writing
I was forced. That's it basically. I'd always loved books and reading, but had a bit of a mental block about writing - I just thought I couldn't do it. When I had essays to write at school, I always struggled to fulfill the word count. It wasn't that I didn't know anything about the subject (well, sometimes it was) but more that as soon as I had to commit words to a page my mind went totally blank. Ironically, I seem to have developed the opposite problem - my last essays for college were all too long, and I had to edit furiously. Anyway, when I went to college I had no choice - we had Creative Writing class and I had just had to get on with it. In my first year at college, the lecturer I had didn't really inspire me. She is a good lecturer, but our writing styles and the topics we like were so different it made things difficult. I don't think my writing was, for want of a better word, flowery enough for her. I did the bare minimum. I can't even remember what I wrote - there was one haiku and a rubbish short story, but there must have been more than that. I used to dread the classes, because we had to read out what we had written, and I'm a private person at the best of times and I bloody hated it. So I scraped through the unit and thanked God that was done with.

Or it was, until the next college year, anyway. This time though, I had a different lecturer. He had a different style of teaching and I actually started to enjoy it more. I won't lie - a skipped his class a few times at the beginning. I used to hang about in the computing room and ducked behind the PC if he came in. Pathetic, I know, but the thought of having to write creatively brought me out in a cold sweat. I think this was largely to do with what I though 'creative writing' was. Lots of flowery poetry. This time, we had a completely different class style, with more varied excercises. One of the ones I enjoyed best, and which I actually liked the result of, was a sort of "ten steps to..." Mine was "how to become a west-end hippy in ten steps." I might post it later if I feel brave. This kind of non-fiction creative writing is much more my bag, perhaps because, in a sense, it's less personal? I remember I wrote a short story, and went to pick it up after it had been corrected, and when he fished it out of the pile it was covered in notes. I let out a squeak because I though he'd ripped it to shreds, but actually there were a few compliments on it. I still have that piece because I was so chuffed it had been so well received.

Last year, though, I didn't have creative writing, just journalism. I haven't written any poetry or shorts stories for a long while, but I have kept up the non-fiction stuff.

I look back at some of the stuff I handed in as course work and I cringe. In fact, I like to block some of it from my memory and pretend I only handed in certain pieces. I don't know why I bother, though - I'm sure it's all been forgotten about now.

Where I am now
I felt my enthusiasm was really running short after completing my main project last year - six pieces, including all research and interviews - but it seems to have returned with a vengeance. Hence the blog. It comes and goes, though - recently I haven't been able to commit what I want to say to the page, or post in this case, but it'll come back again, I'm sure. I want to branch out and start writing more varied things, perhaps having a bash at reviewing or trying short stories again.

What I get from writing
Interesting one, this. I don't know - maybe it's sort of like therapy? Although I'm not sure how therapeutic it is, as there is so much I don't write about. Perhaps you really need to lay everything down for it to work like that? Maybe this is something to ponder. But then again, maybe that would be pointless and suck all the enjoyment out of it. I think it's probably to easy to get caught up thinking about why you write, or desperately wanting to get published.

You see? Right now I feel there is more I want to say about this, but I don't know quite what.

Well, I'll leave it here for now. Other things to be getting on with anyway.


At 3:44 PM, Blogger JĂșlio Sousa said...

Good luck to you and your writing.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Suz said...

Thanks :-)

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Inspector Monkfish said...

Writing, as with anything we create, can of course be a very personal experience.
I suppose it's when we "create" something it's most difficult. The theoretical want of criticism to learn how to make something better versus the desire for it to be perfect and to receive only praise ;)

If it's any help, I do like to read your blog, and I find it easy to read. I hadn't thought any of your recent entries to be "a bit pants" ;)

I'm undecided on the therapeutic aspects of writing about ones' personal life myself. Every time I think "Phew, I've said it all!" I find that by the end of the week, I realise how little I've said.

Oh well. I'll leave that there for now. Other things to be getting on with anyway ;)

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Suz said...

Well, thank you - glad you don't think it's been pants!

I think I feel that way because I've been a bit low recently, and have often pondered on writing about it all on here, but I don't think that's fair on the other people involved - they might not like being written about!

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Suz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Suz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Hey Suze!
Welcome back to the land of the living!! ;0)
Good luck with the writing.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Jen said...

Great post Suz! And I agree with Inspector Monkfish, about writing being a very personal thing. I definitely think writing is a kind of therapy for me; if I'm stressed or anything, I love to write on my blog, forcing myself to think of what to say kind of cancels out the stress; makes me forget it in a way.

Good luck with your writing, from what I've seen you have a definite talent, whatever you do, don't let it go to waste!! Jen xx

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Suz said...

Thanks Jen - that's so kind. :-)

I'll definitely keep it up in one form or another - I've been bitten by the bug!


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