Never Ending Story

Reading a number of writers’ blogs today I find there are an awful lot of people who’ve fallen into the trap of thinking and writing about “writing” instead of tackling the beast itself. I’ve been there. You know my suffering!

I took numerous writing classes where the tutor tried hard to seperate me from my voice. I read several  “How To” books explaining how to write for children and found the writers’ own children’s books were not exactly top drawer, which is probably why they had to supplement their income with “How To” books in the first place.

Finally, I decided never to take another writing class and I locked away all those well-meant books of expert advice. The responsibility of living up to all that expertise had killed my creative spirit dead.

Within days of making this discovery I started writing short stories again…No more excuses of why I couldn’t possibly complete chapter 14 of my book. No delaying tactics, no following tutor’s writing rules, no hunting for the dictionnairy in the laundry basket. Finally, no critic was looking over my shoulder whispering “you’re just no good!”

 Wonderful writing, free flow, the story tells itself.

I close my eyes and I see my little protagonists clearly. Never mind adjectives, never mind characterisation. What are the children doing? Are they having fun? Are they scared, are they alone, who would they like to have as a friend?

The real Willow is dancing through the kitchen in front of my mind’s eye. Her smile could melt an iceberg. She’s talking to me. I listen. She tells the story now. I just operate the keyboard.

4 thoughts on “Never Ending Story

  1. LOL, Maria!! “it was only AFTER I started going to writing classes that the infernal editor-in-chief could no longer be contained.” Wow – that can not be good!! I do know what you mean though about having something to live up to. My first publication was due to an award, and I was so nervous after that I had a very difficult time writing – why? Because I thought, I could never write like that again – what will people expect from me? Learning experience for me, and now I can write through those self-imposed expectations.

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It took me quite a while to realise that some tutors are better than others…and some tutors impose such restrictions on their student’s writing, they practically kill off anything unique, anything that smacks of the student’s own voice. I got so paranoid about the do’s and don’ts, my writing became very stifled and artificial. I stopped going to classes but had the good sense to start a writing group with some friends. We exchanged ideas freely and along with encouragement I got useful critique and writing prompts. When I look at what I wrote during my writing classes…well, let’s just say it’s only good enough to line my cat’s litter tray! With my friends’ help I found back to my voice and the way I like to write. I may never get published, but I’m having lots of fun!

  2. For first draft, you’re supposed to lock your inner-editor in a closet and not let it out until the draft is complete. It’s only once the draft is complete, and been put away for awhile, that it should be taken out and looked at with a critical eye. That’s when those writing workshops are handy.

    • I always put my writing away for quite a while before starting the re-write but find writing workshops a total waste of time. My inner-editor used to be locked away during first draft…it was only AFTER I started going to writing classes that the infernal editor-in-chief could no longer be contained.

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