Monday, 19 January 2015
Seeing as this is my first post of 2015 I'll start by wishing you all a Happy New Year! I hope you've set yourself lots of attainable goals, and abandoned the not so attainable ones, with much enthusiasm...
As part of my Christmas my Mum got me a 'Writing Map', (from the Write Around Town series - see Writingmaps.com ).
The theme of mine is 'My Writing Life'. This is one type of map that won't bring me out in a cold sweat - I'm pretty hopeless at reading regular maps and also have a terrible sense of direction. A lot of my wandering is aided by instinct (and google streetview), and I guess when it comes to my writing 'instinct' is what often sets me off in the right direction a lot of the time too...
Within this map are lots of questions and tasks. One of the questions is 'What does writing mean to you?'. And I've been pondering this for a while now. What does writing mean to me? For me, writing feels part of who I am. From a very young age it's what I spent a lot of time doing - writing stories, drawing silly pictures to go along with them, writing ridiculous angst ridden journals from about the age of eleven right through to my late teens, and sometimes throughout my twenties and even now into my thirties...( I like to think I've dropped the angst and have now moved into depths of philosophising about life). My observation journal from last year actually provided a lot of new story ideas.
Writing is what keeps me sane, and connected to a deeper part of my brain that even I don't understand.
I was having a conversation with a friend once, describing moments in life where I've gone for weeks, (or longer), without writing anything and how it feels kind of horrible, like 'I'm missing a feeling'. So for me, writing is keeping that 'feeling' alive and having fun creating characters and worlds where I get to choose the ending. (But actually, if the writing is going well, more often than not your characters choose that for you.)
Another question within this map is 'What Inspires You?' I've touched upon this topic in many a blog post, but I was thinking about this question on my walk home today and when I looked up at a clock tower I regularly pass by I noticed that the hands on one of the clock faces were missing. (I'm guessing the high winds probably blew them away, or damaged them badly enough for them to be taken off).
Without the hands, the clock face looks so different - blank and eerily naked. It made me think how fragile time is - how it can be easily altered or stopped by uncontrollable events and how that change can transform the face of everything. And that train of thought reminded me again how little observations like this have the potential to inspire lots of ideas.
News stories and interesting articles also spark off ideas for me. Life is stranger than fiction when you read what some people get up to...
Reading about life, and living life - these are key inspirations.
And great storytellers - they're the most important inspiration for me. Closing the last page of a great book always ignites that fire inside of me; the desire to be able to write a story half as good as the one I just read keeps me writing, and keeps me learning!
How about you?