June 19, 2017

National Writing Day – 21st June 2017


When faced with the idea of writing, those of us who aren’t used to doing it regularly would probably want to ask: Why? Why bother? Where would I find the time for that or, given the time, what do I have to say? Will I be even any good? These questions are reasonable, and valid. Nonetheless, if you happen to be someone who is considering writing as a hobby – or simply as an experiment – be reassured to know that these same questions haunt those of us who write for a living, too.

My point? We are all possessors of stories, whether we know it or not. These stories – memories, thoughts, questions, fears, big or small – form the music of our lives. Sometimes they lurk just beneath the surface of our consciousness, perhaps as strange dreams. Other times they are cast like umbrellas over our whole existence, like the loss of a friend, or the birth of a child. Multiple stories coincide and sometimes fall into conflict with one another, throwing up challenges for us. No story is static. Even if it feels finished – a memory, for example – its colour continues to change as we do.

With this in mind, it’s easier to ask: Why not write? Some answers. Putting things into words is a process of decision making. When this happens on paper (or keypad), we begin a subtle conversation with ourselves about what our story is really trying to say. With a little patience, we surprise ourselves. Realisations arise. We read over what’s been written. We scratch something out. We underline something else, think, inwardly, I didn’t even know I felt like that, and that’s where the pen’s struck gold. Hopefully, you keep digging.

As an Ambassador for National Poetry Day (later this year, on Thursday 28th September), poetry is the playground I’m most familiar with. But what sounds like a poem sometimes wants to be a short story. What begins as a short story might become a play. The magic of writing is that it’s an exercise in capturing stories – also ideas – turning them into a blueprint that’s beautiful just as it is, as well as for its potential to transform into something else.

But that’s for later. First, pick a story from your life – preferably a small one. Choose another one, if need be, but try to have a question in mind. Get something written down, and write curiously. You may think you know how your story goes, but when it comes to the writing of it, anything could happen from here…



#NationalWritingDay #TellYourStory