There are so many reasons why people write. To communicate or for work, for pleasure or to express themselves. I find that I write for fun and to be creative, but I also write to make myself feel better and to bring structure to my day. Sometimes the chaos of life can become difficult to handle all at once. I find that writing down a few words in diary form or even writing a creative piece can be cathartic and restore some control and sanity to my life.
Life can be confusing and sometimes out of your control, you may feel as though a hurricane has hit and nothing seems certain. Therefore it is essential that you find something that you enjoy and take pride in, so that you can regain a sense of well being and peace of mind, even through the stormy times.
I’m reading a book by Terri Cheney called ‘Manic’ about her experience with bipolar disorder. It is beautifully written and absorbing, by far the best autobiography I have read in a long time. Once I have finished it I hope to write a detailed review.
I do find that some autobiographies feel distant and weary of their own story, while sometimes I never really feel connected to the subject matter.
However, when the voice of the author really connects with you it’s as though you have met your soul mate. Someone who understands an aspect of your life, or someone who you can empathise with or who you are curious about.
The real stories that we have to tell can sometimes be far more exciting than any story thought up or imagined. I believe that everyone has a tale worth telling and there is always someone out there who is eager to read it.
I have recently started reading before bed, instead of watching TV or scrolling through the internet on my tablet.
I started the New Year with a string of disrupted night’s sleep with fleeting nightmares that woke me up every few hours. I knew that this was triggered by watching too many late night films and reading the news headlines before heading to bed. I decided to try and ‘switch off’ technology an hour or so before sleep and pick up a book instead.
The comfort of reading a paper copy that is bookmarked from the evening before instantly puts me at ease. I naturally slip into a meditative state and sleep comes easily after a while (depending on how exciting the book is at that point!)
It is difficult sometimes to stop yourself checking emails ‘one last time’ or scrolling through social media for the billionth time, but I feel happier and healthier after a good night’s sleep and all it takes is a few chapters of a book!
I only have one New Year’s resolution this year – to make sure I write and read every day. It doesn’t have to be much, just something. Even if it is just writing a sentence and reading a page!
After the time off over Christmas and New Year I feel rusty when it comes to writing and even reading.
I have spent the holidays being entertained by (and entertaining) friends and family. Pure escapism through watching films, going for walks and meals out has meant that I haven’t had a lot of time to myself. I have enjoyed the time off and the ability to put everything on hold for a while, but I have also felt a little guilty for neglecting my writing.
Now that the holidays are over, I need to get back into writing and catching up on the reading that I have collected over the past few weeks. I was given a few books as Christmas gifts and my boyfriend brought back a stack of Terry Pratchett books from his Christmas visit home that I’m looking forward to borrowing!
I find that after a break it does sometimes take a while to ‘re-train’ myself to write for any period of time. I can get easily distracted and fidgety. The thought of writing for long periods can be daunting after a few weeks off. I need to start slow and just write for ten minutes at a time, just to ease myself back into the writing process!
I still find it difficult to write something that other people will read.
Writing is very personal and it’s a complicated form of expression. I have never written very openly, I was always the last person to read out my written work in class. But I need to stop seeing it as a potentially terrifying scenario.
The creative and personal nature of writing can cause doubts, as well as the fear of being scorned or judged. But writers must learn to be brave in displaying their craft and be proud of their hard work.
Writing publically, whether in a blog or a book, is a form of empowerment and a task that builds your confidence. When shared with others, writing can be a tool to connect and express yourself creatively.
I may never be completely comfortable with sharing my work, but I can learn to be braver when I write.
I find it hard to write when I feel down and low. I lack the energy and the motivation to try and string together a coherent sentence. I feel like it is one sentence forward then two deleted.
I am my own worst critic when I feel unhappy. It becomes an exhausting process trying to write and silence my doubts at the same time. But not writing makes me feel worse, as though my life is at a standstill.
So I have decided to try and write however I feel inside. I’ve started writing things down with pen on paper so the words can be tucked away, without any judgement. With each scribble it has become easier to start writing again.
I feel like I have reclaimed a part of myself that is lost when I’m feeling low.
I usually know almost everything about a book or a film before I sit down to enjoy it. Word of mouth, reviews online and even the blurb can give away so much of the content that you can sometimes predict exactly how the story is going to go.
I recently watched ‘What Maisie Knew’ without knowing anything about it. It was one of the best films I have seen in a long time, it was moving and sensitively shot from the child’s perspective. Without knowing anything about the story I was riveted to the screen and I really connected with the characters.
The same thing happened when I picked up a book that a friend had left for me to read. She hadn’t mentioned what the book was about and the blurb didn’t really give anything away. Within the first few sentences I was hooked and I couldn’t put it down. I often thought of the times I had been looking for something to read and had picked it up and put it back on the shelf.
In a way, that can be a good metaphor for life. Sometimes I feel I’m too scared to try the unknown until I have read enough reviews, or too scared to go anywhere new until I have mapped out the entire route. I rely too much on second hand knowledge, until I forget how to trust my instincts.
I need to stop trying to second guess the ending and just enjoy the story!
I sometimes feel like I have a secret identity. ‘The undercover writer’
During work hours I sit in the office and dutiful work for my paycheck.
But in the quiet moments, maybe during a rainy lunch break or while on an extended tea break, I write.
While I type, the grey walls disappear and the harsh florescent lighting fades and I can create my own world. Even if it is only for a few minutes.
In amongst my office paperwork, I keep notepads with scribbled stories and sticky notes of ideas.
Everyone should take the time out of each day to do something they enjoy, even if it isn’t particularly constructive. Five minutes reading my favourite book is better than five hours typing spreadsheets in my opinion.
Everyone should have another identity other than their job, even if it doesn’t pay the bills.
Sometimes the urge to write is so strong I feel distracted and unfocused until I write something down…
It doesn’t have to be profound, or even any good, but I always feel calmer once I have written down any tangled thoughts. Worries or anxieties that are pacing around in my head seem much more harmless on paper. I can look at them with perspective and dismiss them much more easily.
Writing is sometimes an itch that I need to scratch. My house is full of notebooks filled with half formed sentences, unfinished stories and illegible scribbles. Each notebook is a snapshot of a certain point in my life. From faithfully updated teenage diaries to books filled in from my student years, the notebooks cover huge chapters of my life.
Those scraps of writing don’t mean anything to anyone else, not even to me when I read them back. But those words were worth enough at one point for me to want to write them down. Hopefully I will continue to collect my notebooks, until one day I might even take the time to re-read my past.