On Writing

Somewhere towards the end of May lurks the sixth anniversary of my blogging adventures, so with that milestone up a head and the fact that the Newbie Blogger Initiative  is in full swing once again, I thought I’d write about a topic dear to my heart.

Words, they spill from us. Look around in any public space and you’ll see them, bold brassy words yelled across a pub, soft silver lullabies whispered beneath a duvet or the blood red gothic lettering of arguments flaming forth like hammer blows. They catch on the air when spoken aloud, letters unfolding as illuminated text or spiraling across the page like heartbeats. Formed with care, they carry meaning beyond their letters. Without them we’d have no stories, no spells to mesmerize and fascinate us.

In person I get tongue tied. I struggle to pronounce things, my lips feel swollen, clumsy, useless. I can argue passionately and convincingly but only when I have time to prepare, to learn my speech as if for a play. The rest of the time I’m back to being that little girl, the one who needed speech therapy and struggled to learn to read. The one whose parents were told she was thick, stupid and would never amount to anything.

Yet when I write the words come easily, springing fully formed and delicate onto the page. There is no struggling and no stuttering. The transition from brain to page is as fluid and organic as a dolphin diving through the surf. No one pities me when I put pen to paper (unless they’ve read any of my teenage attempts to write sex scenes in fan fiction) and no one feels the need to rush to my rescue when I submit written reports. My readers don’t coo over my accent or find my tendency to add the letter R to everything amusing. All they see  is my choice of words solid and strong against the page, no prejudging just those shapes conveying meaning.

I thought about giving blogging advice in the spirit of the NBI but then I spend all my working days giving practical and sensible suggestions which I always avoid following myself so instead I thought I’d leave the guidance for others. Instead, I thought I’d end like this…

Ultimately though writing is like any other creative pursuit. Do it because you have to, because the words inside bubble up, threatening to burst, blowing your heart to smithereens amidst an alphabet of shrapnel. Write because you love it and because you’d be lost without it.