Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Friday, 30 January 2009

Why do people write?

I've been thinking a lot today about why people - why I - write. There must be umpteen reasons why some people write and others don't, but here are a few of the reasons I do.

Pleasure: I write because I can and I want to. There's just something very special about opening that new notebook, its crisp unadulterated blank pages just opening up and waiting for you to write the first word. There is such joy in getting a new pen and just writing - anything. I think it's the fact that the possibilities are endless that clinches it for me. All that potential. I have all these ideas swimming around in my head that I just have to get down on to paper. The ideas may not make any sense when I first write them down, it's just a stream of consciousness that my brain blurts out on to the page. Sometimes the ideas come to me so fast and vividly that my hand and pen can't keep up. You should see my hand writing sometimes! I can't even decipher it myself. It's not quite the same for me writing straight onto a computor. Seems impersonal.

The process of writing is just so exciting to me. It doesn't matter to me that what I've written initially on those pages is usually a load of old tosh. The intention is not to produce some beautifully crafted prose or poetry where each word is chosen perfectly and flows onto the next word, sentence or paragraph. The intention is just to write and enjoy the moment of unbridled creativity. Writing should be enjoyable and not a chore where you feel you have to drag each word out from the deepest darkest depths of your unimaginative soul. If it feels like this when we write then maybe we should take a step back and forget about writing for a while - take a break and do something else that we do enjoy, reading, wind surfing, rock climbing - whatever your other passions are.

Sometimes I think that the writing can consume you so that you become a slave to it. You lose your creative flow and enthusiasm for the writing. We forget what it's all about. If we do something different for a while it can help reawaken our joy for writing. Well I find it does anyway.

It's not the same as procrastination (something I am world champion in!) that's when you purposefully do anything else but write, housework, cleaning the oven, staring out the window neighbour watching, etc. Procrastination is usually a long term problem but putting your writing away for a bit and then going back is short term for me. Just thinking about something else or reading something for half an hour or so usually sets me up for writing again.

I went to Wenlock Books, my favourite bookshop on the planet, this am. I was feeling low and uninspired. It was an impromptu visit but just what I needed, and prompted my brain to produce this blog, which is, of course, writing! Just simple things can lift the spirit and inspire you to write. I then went to a local cafe for lunch and had to get my note book out to write a couple of short story ideas down, much to my husbands amusement. He pointed out to me that the waitresses and other customers might think I was writing about them. I told him that it was quite all right as I was writing about them!!

Pubication: There are the more serious writers out there who base their careers on writing, fiction, non fiction, journalists, novelists etc. I admire these people, because they are able to write to a publishable standard and can make some money from it. I envy them for having the courage to acknowledge that they want to write and not be in the least bashful of ashamed! I think I always harboured a desire to write from a young age. I wrote poetry and little stories from about the age of eight. I won a WH Smith writing comp as a child and came third in a poetry comp. But somewhere along the line my desire to write got squashed under life. It was drummed into me to get a 'proper' job, so nursing became my calling and my writing dreams just a distant memory. But somewhere along the line, my desire to write came back to me, slowly and very faintly to begin with that I almost didn't hear it; but the feeling got stronger and stronger until I could no longer deny the fact that I was fed up with nursing and wanted to write. I was embarrassed to admit this to start with and would supress it. But then I did a writing course and joined Wrekin Writers which was the best thing I ever did. There were other people who were not ashamed to be writers and some of them were published! If they could do it then surely I could too.

Going on a writers' retreat was the real turning point for me. I realised I was amongst kindred spirits who accepted me as one of their own - a writer! It was the best! Thank you. (It's also their fault if I write a novel!)

Therapy Some people write because they've had a bad life experience or a serious illness that has changed their lives. They find it helpful and healing to get all their thoughts and emotions on to paper. Some of these people get published in the hope that their experiences will help others travelling down the same path. I suspect this aspect of writing also applies to me, if I'm honest. There's nothing like a life changing illness to rock the boat and make you figure out what it is you really want to do in life.

If you want to write just do it! No excuses, no moaning, no time wasting - just write!


Fee said...

Hi Julie

I write because I love it. Unforuntately for me my writing goes straight on the computer as my hands allow me type more easily than to hold a pen or pencil.

I wish you every success with your writing you do have a wonderful talent and christmas carol proved that.

Best wishes.


Julie P said...

Hi Fee! How's it going? Hope you are well. Everytime I try and write on the computor I get distracted too easily and end up on the internet! I have no will power so I have to turn my computor off and write on paper or I'd never get anything written! I'm terrible. How's your book going?

The Buddhist Conservative said...

In the short time I have been reading your blog I have come to the opinion that is but a matter of time before you achieve your goals.

It is wonderful that in your quest to reach your goals, you are helping others who are journeying down the same path. I know I have gained much from what you write.

While I have always loved to write, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that it would ever become more than a simple hobby.

I was looking through an old journal the other day and might as well have been trying to read hieroglyphics. I don't remember what I was so wrapped up in that day but from the chicken scratch on the paper, it most have been something extremely important. :)

With wishes of success,