Writing is a new thing for me. Well, sort of. I’ve always worked in communications but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I could write. It makes me enormously uncomfortable to call myself a writer.
I started my first blog to fundraise for a charity that I was, still am, passionate about. I sent out a weekly update outlining my running disasters and, as the dollars rolled in, so did the odd comment about my writing.
I wasn’t particularly good at English at school. Science was more my thing.. until it came to doing experiments. Mrs Quereshi, my physics teacher, told my parents that under no circumstances was I to do physics for the school certificate following a nasty incident in the lab where I managed to blow up a power pack.
My interest in writing took off when I started travelling. I LOVED telling others about where I’d been, how I felt when I was there, what I saw, who I met. I blogged to keep my family and friends in touch with my travels. But when a friend told me she felt like she was travelling with me, I suddenly thought ‘Wow’.. if I could take people with me in my travels, how awesome would that be!?
So, not happy with being an average writer, I threw myself into learning how to write and into the blogging world where people like Christine Gilbert of Almost Fearless, Torre deRoche of The Fearful Adventurer, Seth Godin and Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity inspire me with their tales. I rarely miss their posts.
As with other crafts, practice makes perfect. The more I write, the easier and, perhaps the better, I get… and this has surprised me. I kind of thought it was innate. Or not.
Writing is a process. It doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes staring at a blank page makes the blood rush up my neck and then my brain fills with shitty thoughts. It would be easier to get up from my laptop and make ten cups of tea than to write.
So I start by throwing thoughts on to a page and building around them until a story starts to shape itself. And then the editing comes… my favourite bit. Chopping and changing and challenging my words.
I write a LOT. More than I ever have. I can’t get enough of it. Sometimes the words spill out of my head so fast that I can’t find a pen quickly enough. And then the words are… gone.
I have words everywhere and often they don’t fit with my blog. So they live in my laptop. I keep a journal with me… for when ideas come to me. My journal has a section called ‘sexy bloggy bits’.
There are two occasions when words come easily to me… when I’m drifting off to sleep… and when I’m exercising hard. I’ve been tempted to borrow a pen off the aerobics instructor and write on the back of the paper towel that mops up all that sweat. Maybe that’s why I’m so uncoordinated in those classes. I’m too busy writing a book in my head to notice that the class has moved from the ‘grapevine’ to the ‘pony’. Suddenly I’m here and they’re there. (Check out the ‘pony’ YouTube clip by the way. It’s ridiculous.)
I write about my passions – life, health, music and medical research. I could probably write about love too but I’d rather not go there. Writing about my travels is what really rocks my world.
So, I plod along, building my health and science writing business, and I practice my writing through my blog because it helps to keep my professional writing sharp. And maybe.. just maybe.. the words that live in my laptop will one day live in a different place.
Are you a writer? What has helped you t become a better writer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.