Writing for Pleasure Blog
WRITING IS RISK TAKING
It has been a long time since I wrote anything on my blog. I write more often on facebook and get an interesting diversity of responses… From being ignored, thumbs up, the occasional heart to show they loved it, indignant responses or even some nasty contents. All comes with the territory.
Writing anything has its risks. Starting with self-doubts, ‘Is my writing any good?’ ‘What am I saying?’ ‘How will people respond?’ ‘Who is my market?’ ‘Am I kidding myself?’ ‘Has my writing been edited enough or too much.’ and ‘Who would want to read this?’
Yet, the compulsion to write continues. Everyone has a story. Everyday is an adventure, from the moment you open your eyes, let them rest on something, start thinking and hoisting your body out of bed (well! I do that).
The day’s activities, people in our lives and those we meet at random, events, challenges, our environment, world events, and anything else that we can possibly focus on, gives us the fodder to put words to paper or computer, whether it’s to initiate a story that suddenly popped into your head or telling your own story.
What really matters is; HOW you write, how well you can construct all the elements that make your writing skills shine, be interesting for the reader, and leave you and others with a sense of satisfaction.
The risk of course, is when you decide to go out in the public arenas to share or sell your story. I’m rather suspicious of my friends to give them my latest piece of creative output, specially when they say, “It’s great, you write so well Helene.” Are they saying this because it is so, or because they are my friend and anything I write is great to them, or the opposite side of the spectrum when someone thinks they are the world’s best book critic, tells you what you wrote isn’t good enough. Funny thing is though, when you are being honest, it doesn’t work either. A friend of mine recently self-published her novel, and she asked me what I thought of it. I had reservations but wanted to be positive so honestly told her, ‘It’s a terrific story.” More questions from her, and further responses from me of, ‘Well done for achieving this, great cover.” Then came the one that really threw my honesty, ‘What do you think of it?’ Oh dear, I couldn’t tell her that it was full of clichés and one- dimensional characters. So, I talked about the story. I could tell she was defensive, ‘I’ve had some very good responses, people love it.’ My reply was, ‘That’s fabulous, you must enjoy it and feel that all your hard work was worthwhile.’
You see, risk taking also applies to friendships in our writings. Fortunatly, I belong to a marvelous writing group where we go over a chapter a month of each other’s manuscript. We work with positive co-operation and help each other tremendously in improving our work. I have learnt an infinite amount from these wonderful writers.
Make no mistake, writing is risk taking. Every sentence brings out elements of you, the style, the genre, the quality of your writing, and the insecurities. Checking with others I find it common. The most important part I believe, is to set aside the ego, that’s where it clashes with the risk. If a person is so entrenched with the idea that what they have written is perfect, there is a problem. Editors would be out of work, and lyrical pieces could go on an on unchecked, leaving them flowing out of a readers interest.
Having said all this, forget the risk, start writing, putting ideas down, exploring new characters, inventing scenarios, creating situations and challenges. After that; start the slog of editing, cutting, fixing, changing, forking out money for an editor if you want to publish.
An update on my own writing: My memoir, ‘Sometimes the Music’ is at the stage of last edits-proof-read with a good editor, and hopefully, I will be publishing it this year.
Another book I am involved with is a co-operation one with my Randwick Writing Group. We have been fortunate to have a publisher and are looking forward to the release and book launch of “Sharing Writing Skills.”
I will keep you posted about another of my writing projects, “Beachside Stories” undertaken as part of my Randwick Library course, “Writing for Pleasure” with short stories from the many students who have attended.
Without risk, nothing happens. These days breathing is a risk. So, take a deep breath, engage your imagination and get writing.