A note on writing (and recent reads)

CC Attribution 2.0 Generic licence - Charles Danoff - http://www.flickr.com/photos/danoff/3427826247/
CC Attribution 2.0 Generic licence – Charles Danoff – http://www.flickr.com/photos/danoff/3427826247/

I’ll be honest. After work, getting groceries, folding washing away and cooking dinner, sitting down to write a blog post, well, doesn’t seem to make the top of my list of things to do in the hour and  a half before bed. I have much to do. But although I have tasks begging to be competed, to be prioritised into the small amount of time I have, it is important to slow the brain down to take one step at a time. This is one of those times.

Lately my relationship with writing has been strained at best. It’s on the rocks, so to speak. I struggled to complete my literature review and though not perfect, I had to let it go. Writing it was a slow and painful process. I just couldn’t achieve clarity in my writing that I so desperately wanted to see. This frustrated me. A symptom, I’ve since realised, is that I haven’t written in my writing journal since the start of my troubles with my literature review. In other words, I haven’t been ‘in touch’ with my writing for some time, couple of months maybe. I’ve posted previously that I feel irritable if I haven’t written for more than a couple of days. Well, I have been writing, just not in way that it has kept me inspired to explore ideas. I need to mend the cracks,  sow more seeds and see them grow. So while I’ve said #blogjune will be an opportunity to share my “happening” month, I also need to improve my relationship with writing again.

One of my focus areas for this year is writing. At this beginning of this year, I wrote

This year I’d like to explore where writing can take me. I need to practice, practice and practice.

#blogjune certainly fits in here.

I’ve explored ideas for a short story (a goal for this year) and so by tapping into this sort of writing, this kind of creativity, a different genre, together with my writing practice for work purposes, I’ve seen some improvement in my writing already this year. It has also improved my approach to writing projects. I’d recommend this strategy to anyone wishing to improve their writing skills – try out a genre you’re not used to writing.

Some other strategies I’ve put in place this year:

  • Attend “What’s the story, morning glory?” run by Queensland Writers Centre every month. My goal is to attend 7 this year, either in person at the SLQ cafe, or online.
  • Keep a writing journal
  • Read books, articles, blogs, etc on the craft of writing.

I’d like to share some recent reads I’ve captured into Evernote for future reference. My top five are:

How to build a stockpile of good writing ideas (by Chris Robley at The Bookbaby blog)

Do writers need to write by hand? (by Sarah Baughman at Write it Sideways)

4 ways outlining can give a writer confidence (by Karen Woodward)

The writing life: the Art and Craft of Creative Writing (by Dave Hood at Find your Creative Muse)

Tools for capturing your ideas in writing (by Melissa Donovan at Writing Forward)

I’d also highly recommend the book Writer with a Day Job (by Aine Greaney)

 

Happy writing!

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  1. One of my favourite articles on writing is by Catherine Deveny http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/do-the-write-thing-20100119-mj4c.html She talks about prioritising writing above the groceries, the dishwasher and the ironing! Good luck with your writing 🙂

    1. Thanks for the link to the article. 🙂 I agree with prioritising writing in this way…to a certain extent. Sometimes this is easy done, but there at times when it’s just not practical. One way I’ve found recently as a compromise is to place my diary and writing journal on top of my laptop. I did this on Sunday evening. When I sat down yesterday evening, I had to attend to my diary and write a few paragraphs in my writing journal before firing up the laptop. Writing needs two things – priority and habit.

  2. Have you ever read Julia Cameron, particularly The sound of paper or The Artists Wa?. She strongly recommends 30 minutes of free writing each morning. Personally I find her annoying and a bit self righteous (is that it?), but people swear by her methods. Good luck with getting back in touch with your writing side.

    1. Thanks Cath! I’ll check it out. I’ve found ‘free writing’ a good way to process ideas and thoughts. I call it ‘blah writing’. 🙂

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