Grab the bull by its horns


So much has been produced about the nature of writing and what it takes to be a good author that it is easy to fall into the trap of of seeing the act of writing a book, poem or short story as being almost holy. That to presume to write creatively without the proper ‘credentials’ (whatever they may be – but there is a long list) would be naive and over-ambitious.

To summon up the idea of an author in your mind is often to summon up the names of well-known published writers who have bestsellers to their name. One does not usually associate bad authors with the title at all.

Add to all this, the busy lives we lead and the lack of time left to write and there is a very real danger that many would-be writers, like myself, would never actually…well…write.

I am not suggesting that this point of view is in any way endorsed by published authors themselves. Those authors I have been privileged to meet or watch have been down to earth people. Sometimes a little shy in public but who view writing as a more rugged process. One in which the writer needs to roll up his or her sleeves in order to do it.

Of course there is a lot to learn in the background and mistakes that will be made but you do not learn to swim without getting wet or ride a bike without ever getting on one (and falling off many times, probably). In the same way, you write to learn how to write. Or rather to learn how YOU will write as it is different for everyone. Roald Dahl wrote in a shed for most of his career on a piece of wood propped over his lap. J.K.Rowling would pop down to the corner cafe and spend hours there, filling countless  secretary’s notepads with the stories of Harry Potter. Some start with an overview, others hate the idea and start with an event or situation, such as Stephen King, moving the story onwards with countless ‘what if’ type questions. These ideas were not gleaned from books or YouTube videos. Through the act of writing, the authors gradually found ways to make that process their own.

They grabbed the bull by the horns.

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