Why I Write: My Writer's Manifesto

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Last week, I had the wonderful pleasure of being interviewed by Kayte at Simple and Season for her podcast, Grow with Soul. Kayte wanted to talk to me all about my writing - my love for it, and my story into it -  and my particular episode comes out on Friday (you can listen here or subscribe here). It's not often that you get to talk at length about something you love to someone that's genuinely interested, so I'm so grateful and excited to appear on it (and please accept my excuses for any extra waffling in advance).

Since Kayte and I spoke, the excitement of launching The Quiet Words this week has started to feel real. I believe in this course so much. I have created something that has a big part of me inside it because I feel that sharing stories is what makes us human. It carries the words that I wished someone might have gently whispered to me, every time I struggled with feeling like I wasn't good enough to write, when objectively I was. The Quiet Words comes from a place of heartfelt trust.

My story of how I became a writer - how it's all I'd ever wanted to do, how I tried to find my writing path, lost it for a while and came back to it - is all here. But when Kayte asked me why writing means so much to me, I couldn't simply put it into just a few short words. I don't remember exactly what I might have said, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a short, succinct answer (and you know me by now - brevity isn't my strong point). So why does writing matter to me? Well, because, because, because...

It matters because somehow, for some reason, I seem to be able to put into words how I feel. "You have a way with words" is something people have always told me. For some reason, somehow, I'm told my words move people. First my English teacher told me, then my family and friends. Laters my editors, my agent, my publisher. I don't say this all to be obnoxious or humblebrag. They might have all said these nice things about my writing, but I never believed them (I mean, I'm the girl that told everyone my book really was "no big deal"). Whenever anyone complimented me on the way I strung a sentence together, I always shrugged or looked away or denied it in that annoying self-detrimental way (here's a thought - let's stop doing this to ourselves!). But then somewhere along the line, somewhere not even so long ago, I started to believe it too, in a quiet can-it-really-be-so sort of way. Again, I am not being obnoxious. I simply tell you this to explain that writing matters to me because it has helped me to believe in myself. Because writing can help you to believe in yourself, too.

Writing matters to me because it helps me to step out of the noise. It gives me the space I need to think, to observe, to craft. There are days when the world spins madly on its axis and there's so much to do, little people looking up at me with eyes deep like chocolate drops, counting on me for so much. Yet the act of writing, the act of simply crafting a thought or an idea together and taking some sweet time to piece the right words together helps me slow down a little, much in the same way I hope these long reads help you slow down too. 

Writing matters because it brings me clarity, a cup of clear ice water on a hot still day. When I write, whether it's here on my blog or in the privacy of my journal or even just a quick scrawl of things I'm thankful for at the bottom of my to-do list, then I get a chance to pay attention to what's going on inside. “The blank page on which I read my mind,” Dylan Thomas said. And with that clarity comes opportunity, creativity; the world seems lighter somehow when you've had a chance to write things down, write them through. 

Writing matters to me because that's where my creativity is. It helps me play. An imagination knows no bounds. It's like seeing the world like a child again. Sure I can be me, I can write as me, here in my blog, but I can also be whoever I want to be in my fictional world too.

Most importantly, writing matters to me because when I write, I feel connected. Both to myself, but also to other people. To you, right now. Writing helps us understand each other and that is surely the very essence of what being human is all about. If we share our stories, if we share our loves and our heartaches and all our deepest pain - then we can only understand each other more. And oh, the world needs more understanding. I can't change the world through my writing, but if I hold on to the thought that I can move people in the tiniest of ways, as though my words are nestling in my palm, brushing softly through your hair, if I hold on to the thought that I may indeed have some sort of way with words - then I can hold on to the belief that I might just make a small difference to someone, somewhere. And that, for now, is enough for me.

This is why writing matters to me. This is why I write. This is why I believe we all need to write.

The Quiet Words: a course on learning the craft of writing creatively is now open for enrolment. The course starts on Monday, 17th September 2018. Book your place here.

 

This long read is an edited, reworked version of a section on my course. I hope it leaves you inspired, longing to want to pick up your own pen, or even join me on The Quiet Words. 

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