The Artist's Way

When I was working for an M.A. in Creative Writing I came across a book called 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron.  It was sub-titled 'A course in discovering and recovering your creative self'.

I wasn't sure I needed to discover my creative self.  I had written, with a colleague, four books on creative therapy to be used when working with children, particularly those who were difficult to reach.  We had designed and used activities and games that helped the children with problems such as anxiety, depression or  overcoming trauma. And then there was the huge commitment I had made to being creative, by working hard to gain a place on an M.A. My self-satisfied self proclaimed no use for such a book.

But flicking through the pages I realised that this author drew her creativity from God. I knew that I sometimes threw up a prayer before or during the writing process, but I also often procrastinated then forced myself to write masses of words to catch up, forgettin…
Swapping experiences on the ACW Facebook page ready for the Virtual Writers' Day coming up on Saturday, it strikes me that many of us have found lockdown to have had a stifling effect on our writing.

So when I realised it was my turn on the blog, this old poem came to mind. I hope it might be an encouragement to all of us.

So where do I find the discipline To move from thinking about writing Or reading about writing To actually writing? And where do I find the courage To move from writing To sharing?

Just write Write notes Write articles Write thoughts down Write letters to God as prayers Write presentations Write new poems Rewrite old poems
Keep a notebook with you Keep it in the car In your pocket By your bed Use your Surface Jot stuff down Just write anything
Just write whenever you can Whenever you have a thought Whenever you notice something Whenever time presents itself Write when you’re ill Write when you’re clear headed Write anything Write now
Just write.
Liz Manning fits writing around being an Occu…

The Writers' Dreaded Lurgy by Rosemary Johnson

This is going to be the shortest blog post ever, because right at this moment writing is damaging my health.  Or, to be more exact, using a computer is causing me pain, and who can write without involving a computer these days?  (Even if you do write by hand, you have to type out your manuscript eventually.)
Yesterday morning I woke with a blistering headache, a stiff neck and shoulders, whereas, for the whole of last week, when I was on holiday on the Isle of Wight with husband and friends, I didn't suffer from my usual headaches at all.  So what, you might ask, was different?  Well, Dear Reader, I didn't take my laptop on holiday with me and the only computer devices I was using during last week were my iPhone and my iPad, and I was using these largely for reading, taking photos and typing the odd email or text.  On Saturday, however, back at home, I used my laptop from about 6pm to 11pm, creating a crossword for my husband whose birthday was on the Sunday, sitting in an ea…

Those two imposters

I wonder what writing success looks like, for you. Is it many clicks and comments on a blog? Is it a published article or book? Is it scribbling a paragraph on the back of an envelope without having to stop to laugh at a joke/cook a meal/wipe a bottom (to clarify, I'm talking about childcare here). Perhaps it's catching and casting that perfectly formed sentence with your mental butterfly net, when it falls like a stone during a walk or shower.

Conversely, what would writing failure look like? Is it few clicks or comments/nothing much published/not even a slender scribble, on the back of a bus ticket?

I ask the question because I find it intriguing that we rarely articulate these things to ourselves, and as someone wise once said (probably my husband), how will you know you've arrived if you don't know where you're going? If we're not careful, we can rely on our feelings/perceptions of others/a sugar rush, to define our sense of 'success' and these are…

Hitting the Wall, by Ben Jeapes

It was a wet and gloomy day, and I had hit a wall editing a load of text. Seriously, it was like editing a wall.

I was on a deadline so I was eliminating distractions. Door shut. No music. It didn’t work. I just could not make myself be interested. My attention just slid off the words.

Solution no. 1: just walk away and do something else. As I said, deadline. Not viable. Solution rejected.

Solution no. 2: just do it. Force myself to edit it, word by word, each syllable like a tooth being pulled. Well, okay, it’s an option but even the driest bit of technical text (which this wasn’t) deserves better. You can make it mechanically correct, all the words in the right order and all the stated facts true, but if you as a writer haven’t inhabited the text then it will never truly live, and that is what I owed the client. Solution rejected.

Solution no. 3: change the situation. As I have said, it was a wet and gloomy day. I have enough self-knowledge to say that days like that just m…

A liturgy for writers of fiction


The Writers' Journey by Nikki Salt

Over the past four months, what has your writing journey been like?
Perhaps for you, it has been a journey of your ‘actual’ writing (character developments, prose, editing, research (much of it through Google, of course) or you may have bravely stepped out and launched your book online (I’m extremely privileged to be reading and reviewing a couple at the moment) or possibly you feel this journey has taken you away from your writing. You might be feeling frustrated, perhaps imagining the last four months a writing waste. You couldn’t be further from the truth.
God is just as interested in our writing journey as He is in the destination.

During the past four months, I have written little but, metaphorically speaking, I have swum oceans, soared into celestial spaces, and plummeted into endless chasms but all the while He has shaped me. He’s shaved bits off, moulded bits on, pressed and, just as he does with everyone, pummelled me into His work of art. A work of art that’s never quite com…