I’m currently reading Stephen King’s brilliant ‘On Writing’, his memoir/ writing manual and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves King’s writing and to anyone who wants to write – it is a wonderful piece of text, one of those books that makes you want to grab your laptop or your pen and get some words on the page.
One piece of advice he offers is to write everyday. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me writing is how I communicate best: I stumble over my words when I talk, go off topic or forget my best points (or they occur to me three hours after the conversation is over, when I have already ‘lost’…) Writing allows me to slow down my thoughts enough to express them clearly, it allows me to stick to my point (mostly! Those fascinating sidebars can be soooo tempting!), and it allows me to say everything that I want to say without interruption in a way that a spoken conversation seldom does.
Other people have told me that they prefer spoken interactions because they find trying to write down all their thoughts too irksome, they struggle to find the right word when it is needed, whereas in a spoken conversation they can rely on body language, inflection and intonation and a host of other physical and verbal cues to get their point across clearly.
When writing I find that I can almost always find the right word. That may sound arrogant but I will freely admit that my maths is crap, my history spotty and my geography decidedly unsafe (don’t get lost with me, I won’t be any help!) – what I can do is words! I am also a fairly fast typist, I can write pretty much at the speed at which I think – this is thanks to four or five years of churning out blog posts and Internet articles for clients through various writing sites: cheap and cheerful pieces at the very bottom end of the writing market. These pieces needed to be paced at about 500 words for 15 minutes in order to make a reasonable hourly rate – you soon learn to type fast and accurately when minutes are money! (With clients able to demand full – time consuming – revisions without the writer being able to object, you quickly learn to write as well as possible, and within their guidelines.)
The reason that I have a wide vocabulary is simple: I read. I read all the time. I learned to read early (at about the age of three, although my parents weren’t actually sure – they saw me sitting poring over books from the time I could hold them, but they only realised that I was reading the words, rather than studying the pictures, some time later!) and have read prolifically, mainly for pleasure, ever since. I am never without a book on the go, especially last thing at night: I don’t believe I could actually fall asleep without first reading a few pages.
I believe it is my reading habit (addiction?!) that has given me a great basis for my writing by providing me with the vocabulary and an understanding of what I like in a book: all I have to do now is build upon that base and learn to write half as well as my favourite authors!
To finish with, here’s a little drabble that I wrote earlier, I do hope you enjoy it: let me know in the comments?
‘I hate being late, you know.
I’m an old lady now, and everything is harder than it used to be: I can’t lift things so well, I don’t hear too good and my eyes aren’t what they should be.
People don’t notice me, either… Now I’m old I seem to fade into the wallpaper. Not like when I was young and vibrant, when I had a life.
Is it time yet? No? Alright then… But I won’t be late, I hate being late, you know.
I died yesterday. Memorial service later today…
Like I said, I really hate being late.’