Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tuesday, 30 December '08: The future of writing looks good
Virginia Woolf famously said that to write "a woman needs money and a room of her own." Eric de Jong noted that to write one only needs to start. "Make the commitment to sit still in solitude several hours a day and inevitably your muse will visit." Abigail Thomas, memoir writer and writing instructor, recommends inventive exercises, "Take any ten years of your life and reduce them to two pages. Every sentence has to be three words long - not two, not four, but three words long."
All surely good advice.Over the years, I have read so many hints about How To Write. In fact, I have spent so much time reading them and copying the inspiration into my notebook, I never got going.
Now I have found the answer! Just start a blog and the creative juices flow.
On 1 January I shall be celebrating my first blog birthday. What a treat this adventure has been. After years and years of tight, rigid academic writing (part of my job), where every statement must be subtantiated and referenced a la the abbreviated Harvard style, here I am just banging away. After months of waiting for those dreaded peer reviews which crit your masterpiece of research from every side, after tarrying still longer months for the article to appear in print, instant publishing at the press of a button seems a dream.
After dire reports in newspapers and educational journals about the demise of the art and skill of writing, blogs have done what no Education Reform has managed. They have dramatically revived the craft of writing at a time when most people's best effort is reduced to an enigmatic SMS on a cell phone screen: "C U @ 8."
Not only are bloggers writing, we are publishing the equivalent of illustrated glossy and very expensive-to-produce equivalents of coffee table books. Historical records of life in the 21 Century. Sociological commentaries. Intimate records of our daily emotions, hopes and fears. And it all makes fascinating reading.
What's more? We have connected: North America, Africa, Australasia, Europe, Asia, all woven into a network of kindred spirits. I love it!