Sunday, 25 October 2015

Writing - telling stories is an integral part of life.

How many times have you heard or used the words 'tell me a story'? As children we demand stories in any form that we can get them but sadly as we get older the majority seem to leave story-telling and reading behind.

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Entertainer Max Bygraves used the catch phrase to introduce his amusing tales and jokes but you never heard anyone say 'no thank you'. There are a number of ways of approaching the subject.

If writing appeals then think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to share something personal, by expressing yourself with poetry? Do you want to try and entertain, challenge, engage people emotionally, by telling a story in script form? Those who write scripts for TV or radio work to strict formats in terms of structure and length, and wouldn't describe what they do as creative writing. It’s also worth thinking about whether you want to involve others in the process. Writing a book or poetry is very internal, a more intimate experience. Whereas if you want to do more than simply write a script, it becomes a collaborative process. Whatever your aim, set yourself a target, and write! Think about what matters to you. Why do you want to write about it? That way you are writing from the inside out.

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We haven’t all immersed ourselves in classic literature or drama. Many young people today head to technology first without thinking of picking up a book for inspiration. If sitting down to pen your seminal novel feels daunting, why not have a go at blogging. Find your voice and your style. If the results end up as a book that’s great. But if they never make the jump from screen to page that’s fine too. What matters is that you are writing.

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They say that everyone’s got a book in them. I thought that I had and so far have completed 9! Maybe it’s time to find out! Look around you for inspiration; perhaps an item on the news or a newspaper story will spark something. Look around you; think about that conversation you heard on the bus… JK Rowling was stuck on a delayed train when she came up with the idea of Harry Potter. If you get as far as submitting a manuscript to publishers, don’t be disheartened if you are rejected, 12 publishers rejected Rowling! While you are waiting to be discovered, why not self-publish? It’s a booming market with 18m self-published titles sold in 2013, a rise of 79% in a year.

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Write poetry
Poetry is a great way of expressing yourself through words. You needn’t be daunted – remember a limerick is only five lines. There are numerous styles of poetry, with conventions in terms of length, verses and rhyme. However that doesn’t mean you have to follow rules. Do you want to write for children or adults? If writing for children appeals, investigate the work of writers like Michael Rosen. The author of 140 books, he was appointed as the fifth Children's Laureate in June 2007, succeeding Jacqueline Wilson. Another inspirational modern writer to look at is dub poet, playwright and author Benjamin Zephaniah, who has written hugely successful works for children.

There are lots of other different genres for writing, such as plays, radio, articles, letters to newspapers, TV and so on. You can write for adults, children, you can produce SF, Romance, Adventure and more.

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The elephant in the room could soon be the urge to write. As I continue to pen my stories and poetry I am learning. One incontrovertible fact is that you can write for as much or as little time as you need. If you are worried about continuity then re-read, you'll find yourself polishing your words as you go. Some people have to be well organised and need to timetable their activities but if you try and commit to an hour's writing but the ideas dry up before time is up then frustration may build. If you only write for ten minutes but carry the train of thought with you into other parts of you're life, it will blossom. Don't be hard on yourself but enjoy the magic of holding the pen or seeing your fingers hovering over the keys, knowing in your heart that you will produce words in a way that are unique to yourself.

Keep writing.

God Bless