A couple of days ago, I completed the challenge of writing 200 words of creative writing every day for a month. I found it, to my surprise, a relatively easy habit to add to my day. The real test began when I read more about the challenge I had naively stumbled into.
One of the first books I picked up was Margaret Atwood’s On Writers and Writing, a collection of lectures seemingly feeling more like a spiritual guide than a book about writing. Atwood masterfully provides freakish examples of the sacrifices that she and a roster of famous names had to make to start writing. Although I was not ready to sacrifice any goats to a mysterious literary god, I learned a lot from Atwood’s intense and imaginative lessons. What stood out to me the most, was the idea of a writer dividing themselves into their work. Though I did not use this technique frequently, I did use it at the beginning as a way to kick the exhausted donkey of my imagination back to life. For all the intensity of Atwood’s lectures, I learned a lot and the book is worth reading for people who need to be inspired.
Although Atwood was insightful on the inner cogs of a writer’s mind, I still felt unequipped. My sentences seemed to be a Frankenstein’s monster of incompatible components, stitched together into deformed impressions of my favourite authors. I thought I would never develop from my sentence necromancy until I came upon a podcast by Andrew J Chamberlain called The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt.
Chamberlain’s podcast provides excellent guidance; it explains complicated elements of writing in an accessible and informative manner. With the adjustments Andrew mentioned, I focused the lens on forming narratives, not just a collection of descriptions. Without the podcast, I would have remained lost and it now has over 160 episodes, with more coming on the 3rd of September!
As well as listening to The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt, I read an article by Joe Moran for the Guardian called How to write the perfect sentence. In the article, Moran explains how to make your comparison enjoyable by making it unpredictable. The full article is worth a read, but here is an example that I wrote:
The sunset looked like a burning beast as it set into the horizon.
The sunset dragged its nails into the horizon as the night drags it down for its shift in hell.
The room stank, like a dead animal
It smelt gross, the sort of gross when you’re ten, and you see your sibling kissing a stranger.
Thank you so much for reading. Please let me know what you think and comment below any advice you have found which has improved your writing!
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