I am envious of my nine year old self. Back then my imagination knew no bounds. It did not get embarrassed at fantastical conclusions, nor cynical of implausible outcomes. I wrote story after story after story, illustrated with my own rather hopeless – yet creative – pictures. I felt as though I could climb inside the story, say hello to the characters and take them home for tea I knew them so well.
Years of education, exams and professional training (I trained to be a lawyer – no room for fantasy there) silenced the creative fairies that used to dance in my head and the stories stopped.
Then, in 2007 I moved into PR and marketing, and began writing fact-based articles, press releases and website copy – which I loved. In 2011, I started a creative writing class with the wonderful Mary Colvin and have slowly started to creep out of the creative darkness. My first class yielded a series of methodical spider diagrams and flow charts in place of a simple paragraph of text. I was immobilised by the need for perfection. I needed to know why I was writing, where it was going and what the final outcome would be.
The more I learnt, the more I realised that creativity cannot be systematically pre-planned, and that logic and perfectionism are the arch enemies of imagination. I read Jeff Goin’s writing manifesto which was a revelation (if you’re at all keen to write, I urge you to read it too), and I understood that I needed to just get on – and write.
I still like a plan – focus and direction are still my best friends, but I am getting reacquainted with spontaneity and am learning to just go with the flow when it comes to creative writing – and to see where it takes me.
I thought I’d share some of my short pieces here.