In Short…

This was written for my July contribution to the Christian Writers Blog, More Than Writers. ACW had organised some wonderful writers’ days for members during July.

I find writing reviews hard work, for although I can remember what I read, to ‘give a short overview’ is not my thing.

It’s not the overview bit that’s tricky, it’s the ‘short’ bit. You see, to me 3,000 words is flash fiction. After a while, the talk or lecture condenses in my head. I will be able to answer questions about it, but when asked, “So, what was it about?” well, that’s a different matter.

July saw four brilliant Writers’ Days. I mean, the days were brilliant. (The writers as well, but it wasn’t aimed at only brilliant writers. Total newbies like me were welcome too.) I would love to summarise those days for you. If that was my thing.

I’m not a very emotional person, but somehow my reviews or summaries tend to rely on feelings. “It was wonderful,” I would say, “Such an interesting talk.” Don’t ask why, it just was. My book reviews on various sites have the words enjoyed, brilliant, lovely, or even amazing in them. I don’t use complex words like ‘protagonist’, simply because I can never remember what it stands for. In fact, I rely on red zigzag lines to even spell the word.

The Writers’ Days were great. They were uplifting and encouraging. Now, this might not be what those four speakers meant to pass on, but the thing I took from their messages was, “Find the joy in what you write, do not feel guilty, do not compare and do not give up.” It was such a timely message too, for I was wondering if I should do more to make myself sound like a writer.

I can’t edit for toffee. I feel like Pilate, saying, “What I have written, I have written.” I don’t think about my words, sentences, clauses and subclauses. Maybe that’s why I don’t write poetry, as I hear other, proper, writers talking about adjusting and rewriting their poems. My poems just land on paper, I might spot a spelling mistake if I’m careful. I might even swap one word round, add a comma, replace an exclamation mark. That’s it. Done.

This month I ended up writing two poems during the workshops. One was an Ode to a Paperclip (Writing about the small things in our life), the other one was based on linking six main words together. (Don’t ask me to summarise that workshop. It was brilliant, helpful and inspiring. It involved writing random words on paper, folding another paper and writing the words in pairs on there.) But you know what? I loved it. I felt great joy in creating, as Tanya said at the end.

Writing gives me a wonderful time. I love telling the stories, my fingers struggling to keep up with wild ideas. I love watching faith in action in characters’ lives, their struggles in following Christ, tensions between different people. It’s a gift, not in the sense that my writing is amazing, but a gift from God to experience the joy of banging away at a laptop. These last Saturdays have encouraged me in this, and actually increased my joy in the Lord. It has given me a greater appreciation and gratefulness for all His blessings.

So there it is, my summary. And never nominate me scribe, secretary or note-taker.

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