Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Writing

There are some excellent little booklets in the Guardian and Observer at the moment about writing skills. Rather than being of the formulaic type they are more about how to charge up your creativity. Yesterday I read the best 'How to write a joke' advice I've ever seen.

One thing I don't think I've ever seen written down is the difference between writing and writing down. Many people engage with the world as writers without, perhaps, realising. They say things in a way that would read well. But they never write.

I often find that the moment I get my creative mojo back is when I am just idling around not particularly looking for things to do or say and I find myself describing what I'm seeing/hearing, to myself, in a writerly way. It is why the advice never to be far from writing materials is excellent.

Yesterday I had a day off and wandered around Bristol a bit. Now normally the fruits of any creativity that arise from such meanderings would stay in my notebook until useful but I will share them with you now as fragments and snippets so you get the idea of how this works:

1. The Registry Office has an emergency telephone number. Why would anyone want a registrar in an emergency? Let me through I have a certificate.

2. An open top car pulls to a halt in the traffic. The loud music is from Keane's first album. Doesn't that reverse the cool polarity? I suppose it could be worse. Radio 4 perhaps? A drive-by You and Yours. Coming at you from the BBC massive with consumer advice init.

3. I bought pants and socks which meant, of course, M and S. The soundtrack? ELO from 1978ish. In the third decade they descended to Marks and Spencer's underwear department.

4. Notice the supreme pace and urgency of the Cabot Centre builders and shop-fitters, three days from their grand opening. Nothing motivates like a deadline.

Now those are my notes. One day they would have been rounded off, force-fed into articles or stories. Now they are free to roam. As you observe the world today ask yourself. 'How would I put this if I wrote it?'


david said...

Your Registry Office musing reminded me that earlier this year I found myself in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. Up in the west of Scotland many shops still close for lunch hour and a sign in the window of the local artist's studio read "If you need a painting in an emergency please ring . . ."

Mike Peatman said...

Just musing on 'Turn to stone' as a backdrop to buying y-fronts.

Mr Gnome said...

Splendid thoughts. It's about being that little bit more awake, more aware, more curious....

I use my camera in a slightly similar way - for example:

: - )