Reading in order to write

It’s good to be writing again. Typing away to fill a blank screen with words has always grounded me. The physical and intellectual process forces me to reflect and think, properly and in a way not permitted within the strict confines of a university essay. And ultimately, it’s one of the most satisfying and rewarding things I do. Satisfying, because I almost always produce something, even if it is awful. Rewarding because I am lucky enough to have friends who take the time out of their busy lives to read whatever it is I share with them, and leave me kind comments when they do so (shout out and thanks here to Fran P who’s quickly becoming my biggest fan).

That said, I am painfully aware of my own rustiness. In the trade, writing is known to be much like a muscle; in other words: use it or loose it. At the moment, my writing muscle’s weakness is making itself apparent in an inability to think of things to write about. I have kindly been given a list of contacts in the journalism world by a journalist friend, but need to think of article ideas to pitch before I send off emails. I am sure that an established journalist would appreciate the freedom to generate their own ideas like this, but as someone just starting out I would dearly love for someone to just tell me what to do. I would happily oblige.

It’s not that I don’t have things I’d like to write about; it’s that I don’t know what to say about them – a problem I’ve already bemoaned here (do I moan about this a lot?). But, on a positive note, I am getting there. Since exams finished, I have been able to read proper magazines again – Time, Prospect, the New Yorker, the Economist – and, through them, to work out my own opinions. I am also looking to get back into fiction; not just reading novels, something I have woefully neglected these past few months, but also writing poetry. Don’t expect me to start posting poetry all the time (most of it will be for my eyes only) but know that I will at least be attempting the odd verse. I was paid a visit today by an old school friend and writing buddy – we went to Arvon together – and was reminded how much I enjoy the challenge of a poem. On my shelves here I have collections by Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, T.S. Elliot and Carol Ann Duffy, as well as an anthology full of the work of female poets. Perhaps dipping into them will lead me somewhere.

That’s all for now; although I leave you with the exciting news that I have just been offered work experience at the Week. Now it, too, will be added to my expanding list of reading materials. All good and enjoyable exercise for that writing muscle.

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