Wednesday, 28 May 2008

How do you write?

This was a question posed on Purplecoo - the site I belong to (a seriously great place to belong) - by the wonderful and very talented Jackofall.
So how do I write? I used to write poetry as a kid and kept it up until/while I was at college - ghastly stuff full of angst and totally over emotional. I gave it up. There are some things in one's life, that as you get older, you realise are best left behind.
However, I used to read it aloud to check that it flowed. It is something I continue to do to this day. It also helps with the punctuation and where best to put the emphasis or stress points within a sentence.
I write for a living in the business sector and do a lot of research before a single word is put down. I interview about 8-10 people for each article plus gather as many relevant facts and figures from a host of sources. After talking to so many people I have a good idea of the issues and I will try to draw on them as the slant for my article.
Sometimes the slant or point of the article will be given to me by my editor and it is up to me to find the facts to back it up or failing this to persuade the powers that be that the slant I have chosen is the best one.
Then it flows or not. Sometimes an article just writes itself and at other times it is a total nightmare and I have to nurture it, pound it into shape, scream at it, jump up and down and then sullenly get on with it, muttering all the time.
Other times I am just not in the mood. However, bills and a looming deadline are great for concentrating the mind!
I will read and re-read each piece adjusting and trying to correct spelling mistakes etc as I go along. Once finished though I will quickly scan. I can't read it properly, it has to just go. I think that this stems from all the anxiety I had over exams. I once got so wound up that I ripped up the whole exam paper because my answer was not quite right and then did not have enough time to finish. Needless to say I failed the exam and the humiliation of that failure haunts me still as I was meant to be the best in the class on that particular subject.
When it comes to more creative writing I started out with a round robin letter when I first got married in 1999. I was stunned by the reception that first one, and now subsequent ones, garnered. I even have a fan base in Yorkshire among my parents’ friends.
To cut a short story long they kept badgering me to write more and although I think them highly biased in my favour, they were a great influence on me taking up the Country Living challenge in 2007. So I started to blog.
I am not disciplined and so I will just come to the screen when the mood hits me. Although I am now finding that I write loads in my head all day I rarely get it all down. There have been so many things I have wanted to share and so many ways I have wanted to express myself.
I now find that I love writing - just for the sake of it. The process is very therapeutic and I believe it is making me a more accomplished journalist - well, a certainly more confident one. And it has been profitable though only in a small way.
Dear Charlie showed my blog off to a publisher acquaintance of his and I now write a column for him three times a year - I know not much. It is a lighthearted look at the trials and tribulations of sending children into the private school system. Totally fictitious but with plenty of facts/stories to back it all up. Some I witness first hand and others I am handed on a plate, usually round the dinner table. Sounds silly but these three pieces (so far) are my most treasured cuttings. To be paid and acknowledged for your work especially when it is creative is one of the biggest buzzes I have ever had.

3 comments:

Elizabethd said...

Tattie, you too can have a Maukie, you just click on the 'geet widget' link. He is a very nice cat, and so cheap to run, no feeding!

Frog in the Field said...

I bet your round the table stories are hilarious....we get some great ones!

Tattie Weasle said...

Elizabethd - I'm in the process of installing a Maukie!
Frog - Some of the tales are positively libellous. The latest is about swinging and I'm not talking about the ones down at the playingfields!

Go on you know you want to...

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