Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Why I Write

"We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act but a habit."
 - Aristotle. 

I started this blog in 2006 when I was halfway through a Communication Studies degree and wanted to write for the web. I took a module which was taught by a Cambridge web design company and called, appropriately, 'Writing for the Web',  and this blog was born. My last post was over 2 years ago when I was unemployed and had just lost my first paid writing job - I was unsure of my future but used my frustrations with the job interview process as a creative force for writing something that many job applicants could relate to. I was fortunate enough that my endeavours paid off and I got another writing job - just like my first, it was for a website. While I'm incredibly grateful to be get paid for something I like doing, I seem to have lost the enjoyment of writing and have lost touch with why I wanted to write in the first place.

Like many writers I write because I want to communicate what I think about the world and writing is the most effective means I have found of doing this. I would love to be a musician  - to write thought provoking songs that have an emotional impact on people. I would also quite like to be an artist and to be able to communicate without rules. But I'm not skilled enough for either. However, I can write and I haven't been doing it enough lately.

When I was an aspiring writer I dreamed of writing for NME or a Sunday broadsheet and writing the odd best selling non-fiction book about society - the brand of writing I would specialise in would be what I call social commentary. But you don't need to have a contract to be able to record, create or write anything. The web has democracised creativity. Anyone can record a song, create a piece of art or write an article and publish it to an audience of millions. That's why I was so interested in writing for the web in the first place.

The best way for a writer to improve is to read lots, write lots and share their writing with other writers. I haven't had much time for any of these lately and as a result have lost confidence in my writing ability. I have also lacked inspiration - nothing has driven me to force myself to write something, anything. But I have missed writing creatively and recognise that is something that I need to do.

I think of the writers who inspire me most and I can only marvel at the dedication they had to their craft - they all became excellent writers because they wrote all the time and were completely obsessed by it. I love the passion and sheer bloody mindedness of Charles Bukowski who never compromised his artistic integrity. I love the creativity, horror and dark humour of Irvine Welsh, who for me is the best fiction writer of the last 25 years. But for sheer writing ability, structure and effectiveness I admire George Orwell - creator of 2 masterpieces of fiction and countless excellent observations of the world he lived in - from The Road to Wigan Pier to Down and Out in Paris and London. For me, there is no better writer.

Poetry is not a form of writing I have particularly explored but Paul Sarrington (a writing friend of mine) is, in my opinion, a very good poet. I would like to end this article with one of his poems about writers:
I’m a writer.
Writers write,
Fighters fight,
Losers fight,
Fighters lose,
Losers win,
Winners fight,
Fighters write,
Writers fight.

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1 comment:

Mark Hasselholdt said...

Great read, can empathise with a lot of the sentiments (and influences!). Judging by the inspired flow of the piece, you appear to have rediscovered your writing mojo. Good to have you back, look forward to the next piece.


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Website manager, food lover, frequent runner (currently training for the Edinburgh Marathon), occasional blogger, even more occasional guitar player.