On doing and becoming (a writer)

The act of writing is easy enough. One simply puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and repeats as necessary. In making the journey from writing to writer however, things can start feeling more complicated.

Unlike professions which require completion of a certain qualification, or training in a particular set of skills, there are many different paths you can take to become a writer. For me such a realisation has been both wonderful and challenging. Wonderful because it means the door is theoretically open to anyone who wishes to write, but challenging because with such opportunity comes an extraordinarily generous measure of crippling self-doubt.

Writing and a writer

Writing has always been something I’ve pursued in the background, treating it more like a dream than a serious venture. Being a writer seemed to be a thing that other people did, and it never really occurred to me that writing is something I could and should be focussing on. So I’ve spent many years in professional wilderness – working in jobs I didn’t like, wishing I could just be ‘normal’ and be happy working in a corporate nine-to-five kind of job.

Having the past ten months away from work has honestly been the best thing I have ever done. Instead of it being time ‘off’, those months have very much been time ‘on’. I have learnt so much about myself and my writing during that time, and I finally feel like I have a clear sense of my future goals.

Even though I still have some unfinished business to take care of back at the day job, I have decided to completely embrace this writing life and all the ups and downs that come with it. While I may not always be comfortable expressing it, I know that in many ways I have always been, and will always be, a writer.

Things that lie within and in-between

I’m starting to suspect that I may be a little bit greedy – when I really like something, I like it all. I like the inside, the outside, the bits in the middle, and even right up to the very edges of the hard-to-get-to corners.

By way of example – I like the crisp, crunchy outside of a cookie, but I equally love the soft chewy centre … I like peering in the window at the front of a store, and chances are if I like what I see through there, I’ll also like wandering amongst the shelves and racks inside … I like lingering over the cover of a favourite magazine, soaking in the promise of what is contained within, and I like it when that potential is fulfilled as I turn each page … Perhaps it is this greedy love of both inside and out, which sees me take pleasure at both the receipt of mailed packages and the revelation of what lies within.

One package recently arrived is ‘The Elements of In-Between’ – a beautiful book which responds to eleven different films from the unique perspectives of both a writer and an illustrator. The words have been written by the lovely Hila. As a regular reader of her wonderful blog, I’ve long been an admirer of her writing style – she constructs thoughts and sentences in the most intelligent and insightful way. The wonderfully delicate and elegant illustrations by Amy Borrell offer the perfect accompaniment to Hila’s words. This book is like sitting down with two incredibly talented and thought-provoking friends after you’ve finished watching a film together. But instead of having them simply tell you what they thought – you have them show you what they thought in both word and image – two more lasting forms of communication which better allow for ongoing reflection and repeated visits.

The Elements of In-Between (as approved by the white rabbit)

The Elements of In-Between (as approved by the white rabbit)

The second package recently arrived is a most wonderful collection of goodies filled with exquisite words and beautiful illustrations by the multi-talented (and equally lovely) Gracia and Louise. Aside from being a long-term appreciator (and collector) of their varied artistic works, I also happen to think they are both absolutely delightful (and incidentally, they know just how to pack a bundle of printed loveliness with colour and care). I am powerless to resist such beautiful works from such charming fellow animal lovers.

Lovely package from Gracia & Louise

Lovely package from Gracia & Louise (what lies within)

I feel fortunate indeed to have received such lovely packages in quick succession, and more wonderful still to have loved them both so completely inside and out. I know I’m being a little bit greedy in keeping these all for myself – I hope you don’t mind too much … You could always buy a copy of ‘The Elements of In-Between‘ for yourself if you like, or stop by Gracia & Louise’s store and see what takes your fancy? (see, at heart I’m a generous person)

When it comes to things you like – are you a bit of an all-or-nothing kind of person too? Or maybe you’re a bit more flexible about your likes and dislikes?


PS. If you’d like to find out some more about me and a few of my thoughts on blogging, you should pop over to Gabrielle’s lovely blog, where I did a little guest blog post (thanks so much Gabrielle).