Monday, 23 June 2014
Why I Write
Christina at A Colourful Life asked me recently to participate in a blog hop entitled "Why I Write". It came at a good time for me; writing is something I've always loved, but lately I've been wondering if there are ways I could incorporate it more into my life. Thinking about why I write has been a helpful exercise. So here they are, my out loud thoughts.
What am I working on?
Along with Annie, Gillian, Sandra and Jennifer I write a Colour Collaborative post every month, looking at a particular word in the context of colour and inspiration. It's something I always enjoy doing, and it's been good for me to have my writing directed a little.
I'm also working on the courage to sign up for a writing course. It's something I've long wanted to do, and it comes highly recommended by a friend, so I'm not really sure what I'm waiting for. I feel as though I'm holding my breath, almost ready to take the plunge, and yet when it gets to that moment when I need to press the button, I back away and save it for another day.
I've tried to analyse why I'm doing this. What's holding me back? What I am afraid of? One of the answers I have is lack of time. Such a cliché I know. I don't want to give up anything I do now. I don't want to have less time for the children or less time for all of the domestic things that go into making a decent home life. But I'm very aware that so many people do find the time for everything. I think I'm scared I won't manage it. And maybe a little of it is facing the fact that things are changing. The children aren't tiny any more, and they don't need me quite so much. Finding something that I want to do should be a positive thing, no?
So I do think that I've pretty much decided to do the course. The only real question left is when should I start, now or in September? The next ten weeks will no doubt be busy. But I worry that by September my enthusiasm will have waned. Did I ever mention that I am absolutely TERRIBLE at making decisions? I can spent fifteen minutes in the toothpaste aisle at the supermarket weighing up which one to buy. It's another reason I don't like change. Too much to think about. My middle boy is very much the same. If you ask him what he wants to do you can wait days and days for an answer. Every little detail is agonised over. Should I, shouldn't I? Soon, now? Colgate, Aquafresh? We don't like to rush into anything.
How does my writing differ from others in my genre?
I've never tried to write like I "should" or be like anyone else. Sometimes my posts are full of mundane stuff, sometimes it's serious, sometimes there's exasperation or a little humour. So I think any difference would be in my own voice, in the fact that what you read here is me, not me trying to be something, but just me and my thoughts, fresh from my overheated brain.
Why do I write what I do?
I write about the things that I enjoy, the things that are going on in my life, things I've been thinking about and the things that I want to remember. I think for me it's a bit like a diary, and something that maybe even the children can look back at one day and see what life was like and see what their mother was like. They will no doubt see me in a different light through my writing here than they have when they see a tired grumpy woman at the kitchen sink, or trying to fit in a quick tea between dashing and there. I'm an actual person too!
How does my writing process work?
Often when I post I just sit down and write. Sometimes it flows, sometimes I need three packets of crisps, two cookies and a hot drink and I still only have half a paragraph. If I have something particular I've thought about, very often the idea comes to me in the shower or when I'm walking back from the school run. I'm sure it's something to do with the early morning energy and some calm headspace when I'm not actually occupied with anything. I really need to make more notes when I have these ideas, because often they evaporate by the time I get to the laptop. No doubt lots of them are rubbish, but just occasionally I think a good one gets away. I probably need a new notebook. Yes, definitely, a new notebook. I have a little addiction, in fact the biggest boy was quite cross the other day because I have lots and he doesn't. He tried to get one of my notebooks for himself. I wouldn't let him have it. He said it was madness that I had so many and I wouldn't let him have just one. I said that come the revolution I would be needing all of my notebooks for myself. He said that no notebooks would be needed in a revolution. He's wrong I'm sure. To be on the safe side I shall look out for a couple more. One each. Maybe.
The first blog I've nominated to be next in this hop is Today's Stuff, written by the lovely Leanne. It's always a complete pleasure to read her posts. She lives in Cornwall with her husband and three sons and writes honestly and humorously about her life by the sea. Do stop by and have a read, I promise you'll be enchanted.
I'm also nominating Kari at This, Too. Kari lives with her husband in a suburb of Kansas City and her blog is a place of light and happiness. She writes about her thoughts and adventures, and it's also an inspiring and creative place. As well as her day job, Kari has an etsy shop that she keeps stock with lovely accessories, and she blogs about her craft business and shares tips and projects. Hers is a blog I never fail to enjoy reading, so do pay her a little visit if you can.
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You should sign up for that writing course! You are a wonderful writer, CJ, and I look forward to coming to your website and following your words and pictures. I know it's hard to hit the submit button, but if it's something you've always wanted to try, you should go for it. Just sent you a few e-mails:)ReplyDelete
I'm with you on the notebooks - definitely not for sharing! And I love reading your stories of family life... all so beautifully illustrated with your photos. Good luck with the writing course, or at least with the making the decision on when to start.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful read, CJ. I think you're a very engaging writer and I always like to read about your life. I think you should take that course, it can only be a good thing for you if you have the interest and curiosity about it that you seem to. I would like a course like that too, but only if it's online and really cheap. We have a very similar Underwood typewriter to yours, I think the only difference is that ours has a dollar-sign key. Thanks for a really interesting and thoughtful read.ReplyDelete
Ideas do come at odd times and you are right about clear headspace. For me it's usually the middle of the night and I stay awake wondering if I will still remember it in the morning.. a notebook is what I need too I think.ReplyDelete
Do the course.. can you book it now (commitment!) and then start it in September? There will be too many distractions over the summer holidays, you'll need quiet time to write.
I have a Bachelor's Degree in English and let me tell you that the SCARIEST and BEST classes I ever took were creative writing courses. Definitely sign up!ReplyDelete
I always enjoy coming to your space to read your posts! And I think you should so pursue that writing course! I will always always remember your post about traditions....it really moved me and I refer to it often when I am talking or thinking about what I am trying to create for my family. And to have this bit of a diary for your children one day is something unique and special in my eyes and something that they will cherish. Thank you for writing and sharing your words with us.....You inspire me lady! Nicole xoxoReplyDelete
I think you're a brilliant writer as you are now.. you always make me smile and you're very down to earth. But taking classes is very good for creative growth.. I want to take a watercolor class. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)ReplyDelete
So lovely to read some more about how you work and write CJ, I always enjoy your posts. I hope that if you do decide on the writing course you enjoy it and get a lot out of it! xxReplyDelete
Too often we let fear get the better of us, despite the fact that taking our talents to the next level (by taking a course for example) feels wonderful. Hence I'd like to say: go for it and enjoy.ReplyDelete
The course sounds good & you are obviously interested in it, I refuse to share my notebooks too & buy girlie ones on purpose, that only helps a little!!ReplyDelete
Maybe the people who seem to fit everything in don't do anything really well.ReplyDelete
I'd do the course in September when you are less likely to miss being outside.If your interest has waned by then it wasn't for you anyway, I've been a bit similar in trying to decide whether to try a photography course but wonder whether it would be too serious and populated by people who are really too advance for the course and just there to show off - I've delivered coutses where there are some of these types.
As for your writing style - don't let anyone mobe you away from your unique voice as it is what makes your writing personal and interesting.
I really enjoy your reading your blog CJ and the humor and your voice that you instill in it. If you're interested in the writing course, just do it! Who knows what the future will bring. I have become less obsessed with decision making as I get older. Also, the cliche of "go with your gut" is normally true. In this case, go with your head - if it has stuff to share with the world (or just yourself), go for it, write it down!ReplyDelete
Brilliant - I almost missed this one what with Blogger playing silly whatsits but I am glad I found it! I agree with you on so much of what you say. I write for many of the same reasons. I did start a course once but fell at the first hurdle as it were and haven't had the courage to try again which is why blogging is so wonderful I can do as much or as little as I like. I am glad it's not only me that takes so long to make a decision - I'm best with A or B and not a long list and deciding what I want from a menu is a nightmare and what someone else has ordered always looks nicer than my eventual choice!ReplyDelete
A most enjoyable, and interesting, post. Happy writing! Flighty xxReplyDelete
Definitely sign up for the course, I'm sure you'd enjoy it, but I'd wait until September as you don't want to be sat inside a classroom whilst the sun is shining brilliantly outside, well, I can hope.ReplyDelete
what a lovely hop!ReplyDelete
Another great way to practice writing is joining a writer's group (if one can be found and if, once found, it is the right mix of people). I was invited to join a group--somehow I found the courage. We used to do a ten minute exercise at the start of the weekly meeting--choose a word from the dictionary and write whatever comes to mind, punctuation optional. The results were often quite good. We would then read and discuss what anyone was working on, before lapsing into some wine drinking and playing guitars and singing. I miss those days and people very much. I moved away 7 years ago and have not found a group since. I've not really tried--I understand your hesitation. It is hard to put yourself "out there". I am sure you won't regret it, though, when you do!ReplyDelete
Do sign up for the course! It probably will be hard at times, but you seem to get such pleasure from your writing (it shines off the blog pages) that you will enjoy it for sure. No matter whether you start now or in September, it'll be great!ReplyDelete
This was a lovely read CJ. I reckon you should do your course now while you are motivated because I think you will love it. I know exactly what you mean about not having much time, there really isn't a thing such as 'spare' time when you're a Mum but over the years I have found if you just do the thing that you really want, the rest will fit in around it OK if it's something like a class a couple of hours a week. Mel xReplyDelete
Sign up for the course now, and let us know how it goes. it was great to read this post, it tells us quite a lot about you xReplyDelete
i thought i had left a reply but it has not materiliased. but i apologise if this turns up twice.ReplyDelete
i've also participated in this blog hop - it's everywhere at the moment, which is kind of fun that everyone is thinking the same thoughts! it's also come at a good time as i am new to your blog so introduces me more to you.
i am like you, i can put off things that i want! i dont know what holds me back. but at other times i can be very decisive. anyway, feel the fear and do it anyway, i'm sure you will not regret doing the writing course.(and you can share your wisdom with the rest of us!)
and i love your beautiful old-fashioned typewriter.
I like it. There is the old saying, "Write what you know." I feel like you do this in a definitive voice. I shared your site with a friend of mine, and she understood through your words and pictures what you enjoy and value in life without being too precious about it all.ReplyDelete
I understand about indecisiveness. This is my way of life too. But write. The course is great and I think you should do it, but have no fears. So what if you can't manage, because you will continue to write and that's the best thing for writers, right? What would you tell your son? If you don't do it the way you thought or if your fear comes true, or you don't manage you will have learned and grown so you will walk away with something. I agree with the gang, you should do this, maybe sooner is better before school for everyone starts up? maybe?
You should sign up! I hope you have already. You do write very well, you have a natural talent for it I think. I often find blogging very helpful for sorting through thoughts, in the way a journal would. xReplyDelete
I really, really enjoyed this post. You already are a writer, I hope you know that xReplyDelete
And have you seen the waterproof notepads that stick onto tiled walls?
Your writing is so soothing CJ. I always find peace when I visit you here. Just now I was feeling very overwhelmed about all I have to do, but you and your words calmed me down. Thank you. I tend to have many notebooks as well. And no, I don't think we should have to share them ;) have a great day!ReplyDelete
Hello CJ, just thought you might like to know I've linked to this post in my latest post..ReplyDelete
All the best there.