I don't think it's a coincidence that I stumbled upon these beautiful images of Dylan Thomas' writing hut by Angel Y on the same day I wanted to post about this topic. I've decided in the past week that I would love to introduce a regular series called 'on writing' on this blog. This is something I've been meaning to do for a while, but I have to admit that my entering the Sydney Writers' Centre competition has given me the final push to do it.
My chances of winning this competition are pretty slim as my little obscure blog has to contend with big-name blogs like Meet Me at Mikes and model Miranda Kerr's blog. I've sort of resigned myself to not winning, considering the kind of large readership and subsequent votes such famous blogs attract. But I'm not complaining, because I realise this has nudged me into action about my idea for a writing series - if I can't attend formal writing classes, why not start an ongoing writing discussion here?
Another reason for me deciding to start this writing series is that I do get quite a few emails from people asking for writing tips and advice. Although I do try to answer every email I get, sometimes I just don't have the time. And to be honest, I sort of feel like a fraud offering "advice". I mean, really, advice should be sought from better writers than myself. But it's also ungrateful not to respond to thoughtful emails in a thoughtful manner, so I hope this writing series will start discussions that answer some of the questions I get on a regular basis.
One of my favourite quotes about writing is by the author, Angela Carter, in her collection of essays and reviews, Expletives Deleted (1992), in which she writes that:
I don’t really think that writers, even great writers, are prophets, or sages, or Messiah-like figures; writing is a lonely, sedentary occupation and a touch of megalomania can be comforting around five on a November afternoon when you haven’t seen anybody all day.
How true! But rather than being comforted by megalomania (something that doesn't sit well with me), let's be comforted by discussion. I'll share my stories, reflections, questions, experiences and struggles, and I hope you guys will feel free to share your own. Writing can be an extremely isolating experience, something I struggled with throughout my PhD and still do now that it's over. I really feel the need now to make it less so.
P.S. I'm not giving up without a fight, so please keep spreading the word about the Sydney Writers' Centre competition and vote for me! Thanks a million to everyone who has voted, and I have to say that I've been really humbled by the support people have shown me. You really have no idea how much this means to me, it's a reward in itself - who needs prizes? And sorry, I will keep pestering about voting till the competition closes on 5 May.
All images by Angel Y, please do visit her lovely flickr account as it contains so many other beautiful photographs.