“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
- Anne Frank
Writing is a gift, a pleasure and even if you never share your art, it’s bound to be transformative.
Unfortunately, too many people have given up on writing anything other than the ubiquitous email -- it’s at least arguable that email has done more to destroy our creative energies than anything that came before.
In my case, up until 2o1o I was paid to write. Not your everyday, ‘oh-how-you-doing’ sort of material. No, mine was the bellicose type, honed by years of practising my craft as a lawyer. Call me arrogant, but I thought I could write. In a way, I could, but it was so narrow in its compass as to be practically useless to all but the non-discerning lawyer on the other side.
Since then, though, through a combination of blogging, writing poetry and doodling, I’ve managed, I feel, to unlock a little more of the free spirit that lives in my heart. I know that I’m a long way from the finished article but I’m willing to keep trying. Actually, the only way I’ll understand the craft is to sit down everyday and write. In my case, that means some very early starts and applying myself to either a time slot or a number of words. But more than that I’ve got to learn to let go. Call it fear, but up to now all those crazy little ideas that linger in my subconscious haven’t seen the light of day by dint of not wanting to embarrass myself (and others). However, this coming year will be different. Not just because I say so but for the first time I’m entering the year with some momentum and a programme that I feel will anchor my previous efforts and see me reach new heights.
But that’s enough of me. In truth, what I crave is to discover online and off a new band of brothers/sisters who are similarly inspired by writing. It’s not just that they’ll get better and leave a legacy. No, it’s more the case that they’ll learn about the real person that’s lain dormant all these years.
I accept that you have to be motivated but trust me as someone who’s struggled from time to time to string more than few words together, the greatest achievement is to pick up your pen or fire up your computer and just write. And when I say write, I mean literally anything -- the first, second or third thing that comes to mind. You don’t need a story -- certainly not the genesis for a bestseller -- you just need to write, and the rest will happen... all by itself.
Better still, if you can discipline yourself to do something every day (as Stephen King maintains) then before long not only will you have something to show for your efforts but you’ll see yourself through a different lens, one premised on the possible and not the biography of old where you’ve too easily talked yourself out of doing anything new, different or challenging.
If you need go deeper then you could of course start with the usual suspects, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Stephen King on Writing and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, but all they’ll really tell you is to get good at writing you have to...well...write.
Over to you sport.