Becoming acquainted

by Jean Knighton-Fitt

What sort of writing do you do? How often? Under ‘occupation’ on a form do you ever say ‘I am a writer’? Or is it mostly a longing? Inspiration that easily evaporates? Maybe you started and all went well … for a while.  Perhaps you long to write but don’t know WHAT to write, or where to begin. Perhaps you just get distracted all the time and have become discouraged. Or, perhaps you are on the way!

Readiness to write a book is based on what has been going on in a writer’s life, “how much writing in smaller forms the writer has been doing.”[1]

When I read that on 12 December 2013 a light came on for me, and there lay the first inspiration for Writing Calling, plus the motivation and discipline required to finish a book that I had, off and on, long been busy with.

In 2003 I had successfully published a biography, and after that people asked me from time to time: “Are you writing another book yet?” And I’d say, “Well, I am working on one about family celebration.”

And I did work every now and then. But I lacked drive.

So, in the intervening ten years, what else had I been doing? Just keeping a daily diary, just writing weekly letters to my children, just teaching other people writing craft – for which I prepared manuals – and sporadically doing research. But because I wasn’t getting on with writing a proper book I felt quiet inside me about it, apologetic, a bit second-class.

But was it really only ‘just’?  Actually, I was ‘writing in smaller forms’. And did those ten years accomplish something? Yes! They did. I see it so clearly now. I got to know myself much better – and built up a jolly fine record of my life and thought, and I steadily moved into a regular and relaxed writing style. For a writer such things are definitely not ‘just’.

Writing is not only about producing a book, it is about building a writing home for yourself, brick by brick, from which you can send out your gifts to the world. Now I no longer feel quiet about my writing. I want to shout and sing! I want to say to people: “Be happy, in the mean time, to ‘write in smaller forms’… and see where that takes you.”

And try to do it every day.

** Why not, right now, record your writing dream on a small piece of paper, and keep it as a book mark, or stuck up beside your bed or in your workplace where you will see it often.

 Getting Organised

To build a ‘writing home’ for yourself you need a proper book to write in and a pen you’re comfortable with.

A book is better than a tear-off pad because it’s less easy to show disrespect for your words by impatiently tearing out imperfect pages.

What sort of book? Well, whereabouts will you sit when you do most of your writing? What sort of book will you feel most comfortable with in that place? Tastes differ.

What size book do you prefer? And paper texture? And pen? Do you like lines or no lines … or a bit of both? Deep lines or Irish lines? How thick should the book be? And with a spine or ring-bound to fold back? I like Irish line ring backs, and when necessary reinforce the back cover to keep the book firm. I also stick in magazine pictures here and there to give the pages visual interest.

Don’t be ‘precious’ about your book. You must feel free to cross out, to be uninhibited – to mess up a bit without distress. This is a work place not a museum.

[“But,” you say to me, “I only write on the computer now.” Well, okay. The problem with computer writing is that there is the constant left-brained temptation to edit and re-edit what you write and that is a real enemy to writing creatively. Do seriously consider getting a well-chosen book and pen for the exercises in this blog, but if you really feel you can’t go that route, then, whenever you write, turn off the screen and just type freely for the first draft – because that way you will manage better to access the real you – and then (once you have finished the exercise) turn on the screen again, take your writing through a spell check, reread and change a few things. AND REMEMBER … keep all your documents together in ONE FILE with a suitable title – like I suggest you should have all your writing together in ONE BOOK.]

** Write down your practical ideals for a book and pen … then go and get them!

And now you are ready for this blog on daily writing….

See Week 1 – An very-day discipline


[1] Darmani, Lawrence. Book Writing. Unit 19 of Interlit Imprint, Cook Communications Ministries International, Colorado Springs

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