In January, the following article was published in the writing section of The Wessex Muse Magazine.  I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you in your writing and to remember the real reason we write in the first place and the pleasure we gain from that first creative process.
The Wessex Muse is a monthly magazine which covers all areas of creativity and can be picked up for free throughout Dorset, Hants, Wilts, Somerset and Devon. For more information see www.musera.co.uk

Don't think about it - just do it

Writing for the sake of it

    Why do you write?  For the love of it, for the sake of it, to see your name in print?  Why do writer's write?
     Ask any writer this question and you'll no doubt receive a variety of answers. 'Because I enjoy it, because it helps me come to terms with problems, because I have to', and very often - 'because I want to be published.'
     All of these are answers to the question which you'll hear time and time again. All are relevant, but I'm beginning to wonder if being published is really what writing is all about.
     Writing is rather like embarking on a long journey, sometimes arduous but always exciting. From the first spark of an idea and picking up a pen to jot down the thought before it's forgotten, to the finished work, there are hundreds of paths to be explored along the way.
     Writing allows writers to create a unique world of their own with characters, places and plots over which the writer has absolute control, and along the journey of the story much can change for the writer. Writing can heal, solve problems, make someone laugh, make someone cry and show people they aren't alone.
     You can meet other writers and open your world. Incorporate the precious pleasure of writing into your everyday life. Escape to another land where the characters play out their own individual stories to which only the writer is privy.
     Sometimes, after the first initial spark of creativity, there are problems along the way. There isn't time to sit down and write, the characters aren't behaving themselves, the plot is lost.  At other times it progresses swimmingly.  The writing flows, the images spring into the mind, the plot miraculously works and the whole thing consolidates into something enjoyable and worthwhile.
     Every craft and skill needs to be practiced, and writing is no exception. No one can expect to produce a wonderful piece of work first off - it just doesn't happen, just as a carpenter can't make a beautiful cabinet without learning his trade and years of practice. Each element of the writer's craft needs to be practiced over and over again, feedback given and obtained, changes made.  Look back over your writing after only six months and you'll no doubt see a difference.
     Every piece of work produced has its place, either as a learning experience, a work to be proud of - or both. Nothing is ever wasted, whether it's read by no one but yourself or acclaimed by all, because a part of the writer is captured for ever within. Stories and the issues they deal with change lives and the memory lives on with people long after the initial piece has been read - in the minds of the readers and the writer.
     So, why do you write? Or rather, why don't you?  Is it because you think you might not be any good? You never know until you try, and anyway, what does it matter?  Writing is a form of self expression unique to the writer.  It can be kept to oneself or shared with the world, but one thing is certain - pick up a pen and life changes in one way or another.
     Might it be fear of rejection at the point of publication?  Who cares?  Publication is merely the cherry on the cake.  It's the journey of the making which counts.  It's getting lost along the way, finding the right signpost, stumbling off the path and back on again, meeting wonderful people and accomplishing an end result of which you are proud.
     We write because we love it, for the sake of it.  For the journey, the ups and downs, the self discovery, the personal insight and the sharing. Without writing, life would be one straight path without that inspirational sprinkle of sparkle.
     So where does publishing come into all of this? I'm beginning to wonder. Publishing has, in recent times, become so important to some writers that they've started to lose sight of the real reason they write at all.  I'm beginning to think that the pressure of being published is actually stopping some writers who would have an interesting and therapeutic time just doing it for themselves.
     So, writing?  Do it for the love of it, for the sake of it.
     Don't think about it .  Don't be afraid of it - just do it. It's a win-win situation. You can only succeed.

Vanda Inman
January, 2007


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