When writing is a grind…

I mentioned writing about the Holy Island experience.  I’ve been struggling with it and now I know the reason.  In order to give a context to what I wanted to share, I was giving some factual background and seeking to work through the various aspects of my time there, to give a picture to a reader who might know little about the Centre.  I was labouring at it and realised that there was very little of me in what I was writing.  So I changed tack and began writing about the personal impact on me.  Within an hour I had written without stopping, almost as many words as it’s taken me all week to churn out. 

 

Now this may be because I’m irredeemably fascinated by my own responses.  But I don’t believe it’s just that.  It’s because it’s ‘facts’ – and they are as it were, ‘there’ so it’s boring to have to restate them.  I remember sitting exams where I deliberately avoided the question I knew most about because I’d be so bored churning out the answer.   I think that may be why I’ve seldom kept a factual journal, something I do now regret.   

 

I write to express what I’m in the process of learning, to share a new insight – well new to me!   But to rehearse facts!  I’m glad some people are wired for that, otherwise I wouldn’t know even the stuff I do know.  But it ain’t my bag.  Now, there’s a useful rediscovery! 

 

Of course, I do still need to write contextual stuff and even a few facts (never let the facts get in the way of a good story) but at least if I recognise which sort of writing activity I’m engaged in at any one time, I have some choices about how I work. 

 

 

2 Responses to “When writing is a grind…”


  1. 1 chris August 5, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I believe it’s wildly important to know when to jettison something and leap back in as another kind of writer. It’s recently happened to me when I lost a laborious blog post and had to start over; I was so pissed off that I stopped being careful and just wrote what wanted to come out – and it seems to have worked.

    cheers!

  2. 2 alisonwriting August 5, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    It’s funny how you need to re-learn these things!


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