Thursday, 23 February 2012

Honing your writing craft is never easy!

Coming out of the shadow
A good friend recently sent me a message saying how much she had loved my most recent blog post, in particular, the voice I used, which I was very flattered by. My aim had only been to share my practices. Combine this with the knowledge that an article I submitted to a journal has been accepted (more info when I can link you to it) made me start to think. Those of you who are regular readers know that I have been concerned about stepping out of the shadow of my PhD. It is so daunting. Doing a PhD is like having a hug, you feel protected. Once it is done, it is time to be a grown up! It is tough even if you have the support that I do. It is scary. Well, I think I am finally doing it and I wanted to share. I have interest in my creative piece and a lot more confidence in my critical voice. Neither of which has come easily. I have had to work really hard at it. But isn't that what makes it worth while?

As far as I am concerned, and even with a PhD in creative writing, I am still honing my craft. I am a writer but not a complacent one I hope. I know I still have lots of learn. I lecture in creative writing but I wouldn't consider that I can teach writing. What I think I do is give my students guidance and the tools with which which to hone their own writing. They get the space and time to to try out different voices. But it all comes down to practise, the more you do it, the better you will get. You could say that it is no different to a painter or a musician. Watch the clip below which is Shin Suzuma, the brother of another great friend of mine. He is 22 and an extraordinary pianist but he puts in hours and hours of practice every day. See, you don't get anywhere without putting in hard graft and that is the same with writing, I believe. It is not easy and don't let anyone tell you it is. Or rather, the first draft might be but then comes the rewrites....


  1. So true. Just wish I had the work ethic that my brother does!

  2. Me too and that I could type as fast he plays without a mistake!

  3. Good news about your article - I look forward to your posts (cyberhugs), Vanessa. I wouldn't mind Shin Suzuma as a neighbour if he practises like that - (he didn't look at the sheet music once!).

    Hmmm...When is a draft not a draft?

  4. So true, it's constant work and practise - and we're still never done.

  5. Thank you Sue for the cyberhugs. I noticed he never looked at it too. I would love to have a memory like that.
    Nicky, Maurice Blanchot says ‘the writer never knows if the work is done’ and that ‘...the work of art, the literary work – is neither finished nor unfinished: it is.’ He is so write [sic]!!

  6. Great post, Ness, and so true. As for Shin - wow! What a talented boy!
    Looking forward to the article.

  7. Great blog, Vanessa, and what a brilliant pianist Shin is! (Brilliant family!)It's very true about practice making perfect (or as near as we can get!) and all creators appreciate help and advice, but I have to just add, as the sister of an equally talented musician (Sir Andrew Davis), you've got to have the talent in the first place... and work at that.

  8. Thank you Sue, will post a link when it is available.

    Thank you Jill and you are so right about the talent in the first place.