Write, Cut, Rewrite or An encouragement for writers

oxford writers toolkit writing writing tools Mar 20, 2024
creativity is allowing your self to make mistakes Design is knowing which ones to keep.

 I struggle to call myself a writer. I started this post two weeks ago and completely abandoned it. I killed my darling. This is the rewrite.

Over the last seven years I’ve written countless blog posts, numerous articles and learnt sales page copy structure for business websites. I’ve recently written a couple of articles for a national christian magazine. I’ve self-published a couple of craft tutorial books, written a few articles for the magazine I published, I’ve listened to countless well-known authors tell me how they write and encourage me to write, and to call myself a writer.

I still struggle to believe I have anything worthwhile to write.

I come up with ideas in the middle of the night and have to write them down, I had this waterproof notepad in the shower for water inspired ideas (affiliate link), my friend (editor of said magazine) called me a good writer. I studied English and Publishing at university, my family are writers and editors, I read a lot. 

But I don’t believe my voice matters. 

I know how to write, to get it down, the whole Anne Lamott, SFD method. Get it down, then smarten it up. I know writing and editing are different skills and mindsets. I KNOW this. 

But all I hear is, ‘you haven’t improved’ ‘I don’t want you to write that, but be creative.’ 'It has to be perfect.’ All recent feedback in my paid job. And then I lose the job. Another failure to add to my growing list. (It’s ok, I know to fail forward, failure's just feedback etc, I do read.)

I recently went to the Write, Cut, Rewrite exhibition at the Bodleian Library which shows elements of author’s works in progress, their first drafts, their edits. It was fascinating to see. Jane Austen's abandoned novel - The Watsons. JRR Tolkien’s writing in pencil before being inked over. Apparently he was an elegant calligrapher whose handwriting became less legible in the heat of composition. Other draft works with literal holes in the pages. I started a whole post on it, but couldn't find the thread, the story or what I wanted to say about it. So I stopped, killed it. Wrote this instead. Exhibition job done - maybe. 

I once wrote an Instagram post about how life is like writing - we live, edit, plot twist and I’m trying to practise it in life. Writing my own story, cutting out the criticism and rewriting a plot twist I never wanted but was given. Rewriting to take it back, to navigate the (literal) cut, the edit, and come up with a better ending. It’s all still a draft in progress - God willing.

If you have an idea, a pen or pencil in hand and paper to put it down on, or a laptop, write. But your choice. Maybe you and me, we are not good or great writers - yet. But we have something to say, if we want to. The question is will anyone read it, agree or disagree with us, do you have a hook, a slant, or spin, a path or a journey? Does it need to be said and why? What can we bring to this world? “Art is meant to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortableCesar Cru. Writing is an art, do you agree? We need to stir the pot (or the plot, not to mix metaphors!) to create forward motion. What do you think?

I want to read, I want to agree, or disagree. I want to know I'm not alone. I want to think, laugh, cry, pray. I need writers to write, I don’t care if their grammar isn’t perfect or there is a typo. Nothing is perfect all the time, we do our best. I have to encourage you to write. And myself. Motion must be forward. If ‘we read to know we are not alone’ CS Lewis then we need someone to write something to read.

We need each other to keep the conversation going, write, read, and live. (Sounds like the live, laugh, love cliche - ugh.) Keep talking, keep breathing, stay alive. We write in and out of words, our air, our breath, moving like a whirling dance of life.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes, Design is knowing which ones to keep. Writing by design.

I’m still not sure whether what I have written here is any good. Not fishing, just being honest. Write me.