The Will to Write

Keeping up the will to write.

Over the last few months I have been distracted by family dramas. In particular the unexpected illnesses of elderly parents, which attracted a sudden flurry of visitors from Australia and New Zealand. But all has been resolved and each and everyone are well, once more.

The result of this upheaval at home for me has been my utter neglect of writing. I released how much I need the space to concentrate even if this results in nothing more than a few ideas. As my household is back to normal I seem to have lost the will to write or at least the flow of words have slowed.

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On reflection I remember where I started and how I found encouragement from people like Adam, Nick, Hugh, Diane and Tobias who all were brave enough to comment and critique my attempts at literary notoriety. They have gone on to create their successful E-magazine ‘Literally Stories’. This contains a range of stories, which in my view are astounding and there are many I find truly captivating. Others are just damn weird and occasionally incomprehensible to me both in their subject matter, theme or even in the English language. Regardless, I have taken to reading every one in the hope of some inspiration.

I have started to read some Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield. (Oxford World’s Classics, Ed – Angela Smith). From a writers point of view I have detected how much control Katherine Mansfield has with the narration and I just love how in such short pieces she can hold me in suspense that comes from within her characters.

‘The Woman at the Store’. We are not told what she has done with her lovers, but her son’s drawings contribute to the gut gripping suspense.

‘Bliss’. Why is it the woman is always last to accept the infidelity of her husband?

‘How Pearl Buttons was Kidnapped.’ This seems like such an innocent story where the child, Pearl Buttons, is having a wonderful time out at the seaside. It is not until at the end we learn of the culture clash between the indigenous people and the European settlers.

There is lots of advice from creative writing books and courses about how to sustain your writing. I now ignore it all, as for me I need to be in a secluded mood and totally absorbed in the idea without the intrusion of what you should do and how it must be done.

But for now it is a period of reading and reflecting on how I will do it my way.

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4 responses to “The Will to Write

  1. I totally agree about avoiding “how to” books – I like to just let the story run and if I was having to think about and comply with other people’s do’s and don’t’s I would feel too hidebound. I find that characters do their own thing anyway and it has to be said that if George RR Martin had listened to the pundits and never killed any of his main characters – well – nuff said. I think the main criteria is that it has to be fun, even if sometimes it becomes stressful it is stress that you don’t mind suffering and the magic when it works and the words tumble out of the end of your fingers – well that’s just priceless. I would also echo Nik’s thanks for your constant support of LS it’s lovely to have old friends around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. June Griffin

    Nothing wrong with the writing on this piece, James. I loved it! I intend to read Selected Stories. Always, June

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear there has been so much chaos in your life recently James but pleased that everyone is now well and some normality can return. I can completely relate to losing focus on writing – for me the reasons have been different but the end result has been similar. It’s taking a lot of effort and willpower to get the words flowing again at present – I’m trying to vary things and to set different challenges (150 word fiction, writing prompts, free writing, non-fiction etc) and slowly I’m coming out of my slumber. I’m sure you will come up with your own method and I will look forward to reading the results.

    Thanks for your support of LS both as a writer and regular commentator. Back in the SBS days you were always someone I looked out for in terms of my own writing – always generous with your time, insights and advice – and the LS writing community is surely benefiting from more of the same.

    All the best – and keep writing…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Best wishes for finding your way. I suppose that is how it’s done – whether that means following some particular piece of advice or using some specific technique. We all have to find a path IN. Emphasis on HAVE to and IN. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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