THIS time of year could be described as “reading and writing time”, for there are hours that we waste watching often asinine programmes on television or falling asleep in front of them. But the cold weather is not conducive to such an activity. Most of us seem to wish merely to cuddle up in front of a roaring fire to try and stop our bodies from shivering.
The old ditty “Can’t think, brain numb; inspiration won’t come” strikes one as appropriate. I suppose, however, our spare time could be divided into active or passive occupations, although the latter should at least keep our brains ticking over.
In the active sphere, I would include creative craftsmanship, something that nowadays is seldom enjoyed. Games of skill are popular, especially when involving many members of each family. Drawing and painting are also great and allow the imagination to run and the results retained.
What, though about writing? It is said that everyone has a book in them; I believe this to be true. Indeed, it is great that The Clare Champion has taken the promotion of writing up especially encouraging youngsters with their annual competitions. I am sure many who have entered, and especially those who have won prizes, will go on to write books.
Even more so than art, I would believe, writing is a huge vehicle for the imagination, even for recollection for real and exciting times. In Clare, there is a coterie of accomplished or potential literary figures, many of the latter just waiting to be encouraged or even coerced into putting pen to paper. And writing need not just be “books”.
Many great literary figures started with short stories such as Frank O’Connor or Rudyard Kipling with his India-based Jungle Book stories.
Then there are different types of reading such as reference books and records such as of history or industry. Biographies and autobiographies can be fascinating merely because they are records of what happened during the lives of those featured, usually never to be repeated; journalism can be lucrative and even gossip is significant for most of us.
Creative writing, though, allows the imagination to be captured and shared. Few of us don’t like to share our stories in the pub, say, or when contributing to a multi-participatory grouping, so why not increase the “fold”.
Less active an occupation but very valuable to writers too, is reading. In fact, it is necessary for writers to read before they even consider putting pen to paper. Other writers have set the pace and from their successes and failures, we can judge for ourselves where and how to put our own aspirations down for others to enjoy.
Another necessity for writers is to have someone read over and comment on their style, their content and their general ability. These critics should be listened to and their comments, adverse or otherwise, acted upon. Such frank helpfulness, provided it is unbiased, can be of immense benefit.
As a publisher myself, having received some pretty awful stuff, have helped several aspiring writers to successfully improve their efforts and in the end, to have their work published.
Procrastinators; too often they are responsible for lost opportunities.
Those who encourage those, mostly with talent, to put pen to paper, even if it is merely recording their recipes or experiments with food.
Keep a diary, preferably a comprehensive record of daily life.