1 Feb 2011

After Reading Comes Writing

I am an accidental writer…I like that phrase, not original but borrowed from the Anne Tyler book, The Accidental Tourist.

 

Accidental, because I didn’t plan to write. I never imagined that I would spend many hours of my day writing and if you asked me what it is that I do I would answer with many alternatives, none of them including, ‘writer’.

That is why the idea that my writing is, ‘accidental’ appeals… words and the making sense of them were never my intention.

 

 

 

I read other writer’s words. I communicated through speech; my feelings were emotions to be talked about not written down.

Speech was easier, safer and in the moment; words consigned to a page would last forever and could never be withdrawn. I think that frightened me.

 

 

Chance, serendipity, luck…being in the right place at the right time…jump started my love affair with words.

There can be joy in finding the right word or phrase to describe what you see or how you feel.

There is challenge in filling the page and seeing thoughts take shape and come alive.

And there is satisfaction, great satisfaction when someone understands and identifies with what you say.

Writing is an art form for very few but life’s blood for so many. It is a gift to write well but that does not make the practice and habit of words exclusionist.

I believe that everyone can write and that everyone should write.

We need to write to survive in our world.

We may not send pages of beautiful cursive script but we craft emails, we blog, we Facebook, we even Twitter.

All these forms of communication require sharp thought and a specialist use of language.

 

 

How can we write if our minds and fingers are unfamiliar with the practice?

Writing is like learning a sport; we must have the desire, find the discipline to practise our moves and be willing to test ourselves.

Writing is in the detail and in the observation of life; open minds, open hearts and open eyes provide our content.

Writing does not have to be brilliant, mistakes are how we learn. I often shudder at my past attempts, but so much better to have graced the page than not.

Harshness and self criticism are useless tools.. as we must be kind to our bodies and guard our health, we must be kind to our minds.

We must let our pens run across the page, and our fingers fly across the keyboard without self judgement.

 

 

Gigi, at The Magpie’s Fancy, is a favourite blogger of mine. Gigi is both a talented writer and a creative writing teacher. She improvises ways to encourage and help us write.

She is inspired in her teaching and in the simple ways she suggests for us to find our voice.

I tried one of Gigi’s exercises..a few words about a ‘colour’ without ever mentioning the name of the colour.

 

 

This is what I came up with…

If my colour had a mood it would be a happy one. If my colour had a face it would be smiling, it would be a bright shiny smile that would light up the darkest of glooms. My colour is the hue of my childhood and the tone of my adolescence.

Memories bounce back to life – people, places and objects come quickly to mind when I imagine my colour. My childhood bedroom was a little girl’s dream to wake up in; nasty nightmares and grizzly thoughts would banish as soon as my eyes opened. My spirits would lift as the familiar came into focus.

Milestones were marked by my colour – my first and only role on the stage, my first kiss, my first valentine… my first child. My colour is as soft as a newborn’s cheek and as strong as an evening sunset. My colour is as sweet as candy and as bitter as cough elixir. My colour is as loud and sharp as the flash of fireworks that light up the night sky. My colour is as long as a bolt of silk and as smooth as a reel of thread. My colour is as fragrant as the rose that flowers and perfumes my springtime.

You already know…my colour is pink.

 

 

Writing really isn’t so complicated if you think about it.

It is just speaking out loud with ‘pen’ in hand… xv

 

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47 Comments

Jem

Writing is an escape for me, much like reading and being tipped into a book I think giving life to your own world can be just as transporting.

I love your extract describing your colour – it is so vividly conjured!

Jem xXx

Reply
Deborah

This is such a lovely, thought-provoking post. It's so true that writing is only the spoken word arranged on page or screen – the aim is to communicate, nothing more or less.

Of course, we can all learn to communicate better, and with regard to writing, it really is a matter of trial, error and above all, practice!

Reply
cityfarmer

you've been reading my mind …
actually was going to post on this subject.
Mimi asked me last fall to be a contributing writer at Belle Inspiration …
I started shaking in my boots … but then, I picked the laptop and just started chatting … it flowed like a river
and she's happy as a clam … we're on the threshold of the third issue, and I love it.

accidental to be sure.
You on the other hand, are a pro in my book.

Reply
Susan

I disagree about writing being "just" thinking w/a pen. It's much more than that – or ought to be.

Reply
Davida Goldberg

This is such a beautiful post. It is always refreshing to happen upon a blog that not only is well written, but has the love and passion of writing coursing through the words. I'm so glad that I found your blog.

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Snippets/Sarah

My husband has been telling me for years to write. I could never understand where he was pulling this from. I wasn't particularly good in writing the requisite high school essays. However, when life happens, the mind deepens and writing emerges. I feel the same way as you expressed. I am new to blogging and it absolutely knocks my socks off when someone reacts to my writing. I just really cannot believe I could be interesting. I probably feel that way about other aspects of my life, but I am finally finding my own self worth in recent years. Vicki, your blog was the very first one I came across. I was researching information for our trip to Provence. I didn't "put the computer down" until I had read dozens of your posts. I immediately ordered your first book. So I share your surprise with your own talent and can identify with you. Your piece about your favorite color was beautifully written. I would cringe at my attempt to do this, but I would love to try that . Now…after all of that outpouring to someone I have never even met, I withdraw to reality (that means waiting for my daughter's physics class to finish while paying the monthly bills…Ha!) Have a wonderful Monday!

Reply
Karena

Vicki your writing is fabulous and very heartfelt. Thank you so much for sharing!

Do come and join my Amazing Giveaway from Splenderosa!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Reply
Macarena - Chic et Posh

Me encantó como te expresaste sobre tu color favorito evocando las vivencias de la infancia. Si bien hoy en día gracias a la proliferación de espacios virtuales la comunicación escrita está bastante limitada al estilo de la crónica descriptiva, es emocionante encontrar espacios donde el arte de la expresión escrita se respeta con toda la gala de antaño. Te felicito por este post, es bellísimo e inspirador. Un abrazo, Maca.

Reply
Amy

Lovely, Vicki! (I'm pink, too!)

I'm a professional copywriter by day and a harpist in my off hours but I'm really a WRITER all the time! I'm now working on writing a memoir about some exciting, life-changing experiences I had in Paris a few years ago.

I believe we write even when we're not putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper – that much if not most of our writing occurs in our minds and imaginations and thoughts before we ever craft the story.

And THAT's where that "accidental" or bit of inspiration part comes in and when the words just flow!

Keep writing and enjoy the process.

Reply
Norma

A thoughtful and thought provoking post Vicki, thanks, and thanks for the link to Gigi's blog, I'm off to check it out :)

Reply
VictoriaArt

Vicky, your words resonate deeply with me. I think so often about writing, the way to find the right words, the right feel for the pages I fill.
Your words are true, the kindness to oneself, the strength, the practice.
I so understand your description of the accidental writer!
Writing is a bit like dancing. A melody is found and than we follow the right rhythm.
Arm in arm with our thoughts we dance and the movement forms sentences…chapters, perhaps enough for a book!
Thank you for a lovely encouragement to write!

xoxo
Victoria

Reply
Jenn @ Spejory

I love this post about a subject near and dear to my heart. I love words. Writing is something I must do. It has become a common thread weaving the chapters of my life together. I have to examine it all through the tapestry of the words I put to paper.

Your colour passage was lovely :-)

Reply
Gigi

Dearest Vicki,

This post captures so much of what I feel about the written word. I especially love that you talk about discipline and practice. Writing is a lifelong pursuit, a process, and I cannot imagine my own life without it.

Thank you so much for sharing your "pink" exercise, and for linking to my Freewrite Friday posts at The Magpie's Fancy. You're the best. xo Gigi

Reply
Karen

Vicki,
Thank you for writing this—with so many clever, witty writers in blog land, there have been many days when I've felt discouraged (feeling my writing style most probably didn't deserve to be posted!). But you really hit home when you suggested that with practice and continual striving for improvement we all have something worth writing.
You've made my week! Thank you,
Karen

Reply
BestofDesign

What a timely post! For some reason (probably I am too much of a perfectionist) I have felt that writing is a natural gift. Your description of writing really resonated with me—especially the struggle of filling the page and the resulting satisfaction of doing it and having others connect with thoughts you have put to paper. I am definitely going to add The Magpie's Fancy to my subscriptions…I love the idea of a weekly "warmup" exercise! BTW loved your colour piece–although I have to admit I initially thought "yellow"! Probably because my first bedroom was yellow! :)

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Lost in Provence

It is amazing to me how much words and emotions are tied together–how certain phrases can be a Proustian madeline to our past. By writing it down, we make our memories concrete. By sharing them, like you have done, we can inspire…Thank you so much for this!

Reply
mary

Thank you for writing this post and inspiring us to give voice to our thoughts== a permanent consciously creative voice. And you are an inspiration.

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Simply Mel

Vicki ~ I know you are many things, but your 'writer' hat is extraordinary! You have a gift.

And that Gigi, well, she is definitely a favorite. J'adore her.

Bisous,
Melissa

Reply
Vicki

Hi Vicki,

I always look forward to your blog and today to read your color description really showed how you can indeed write…but I thought it was yellow! However, on rereading…so many pink clues! Preconceptions? Now that would make for an interesting blog, perhaps one day you can do one on assumptions?
Vickixx

Reply
Sunday Taylor

Thank you for such a thoughtful post on writing. Reading and writing are two activities that feed the soul and enrich life immeasurably. It is gratifying to hear so many people share this passion.

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Ingrid Mida

I never would have thought of you as an accidental writer because everything that I've read of your work is so beautifully crafted. I often find myself thinking – I wish I wrote that.
Thanks for sharing your colour, your thoughts and the link. I will give it a try.

Reply
cassmob

Thanks for a delightful post Vicki. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your posts with the wonderful design and lifestyle perspectives. Thanks also for the link to the Magpie's Fancy blog -I'm also looking forward into delving into that.

Reply
Jill

One of the interesting things about writing is that, because it is done with the fingers, via pen and keyboard, different things emerge on the page than those that just repose in your mind.

cheerio.

Reply

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