From infancy up until the start of high school, I was raised with books as a part of my identity. This passion for stories and words eventually progressed towards me synthesizing my own material. Since I began, creative writing has become an important artistic medium of communication for me. When I moved to South Africa, I realised I had a talent and passion for words went beyond reading. I was pushed to write, analyse, and work creatively by my English teacher, who placed me in class that (though challenging and far from my comfort zone) expanded my appreciation for literature and its analysis on a thematic and technical level I hadn’t experienced before. I applied what I was inspired by through writing prose as means of catharsis. Later, through the inspiration of a writer friend I realised stories weren’t something I just had to read.

 

With four years of practice and increasingly “sophisticated” inspirations, I have been able to  improve my work and become better with editing. I was also able to recognise writing not only a passion, but a talent. When I was accepted into the creative writing course at Saint Andrews’ University International Summer Programme, I remembered that writing is a “use it or lose it” thing much like any other ability. When I started off I felt like my material was awkward, but towards the end of the experience I found myself writing increasingly refined and self aware material.
I want to continue with this kind of work and live up to any time myself/somebody else has considered me a writer. So, I created a writing blog to motivate myself to document, write, edit, and build upon my own work. I want to see where I made progress and where I still need to make it. With my old work, I have also been able to practice my editing by re-working them. This allows me to generate content that readers can engage with as well as be writing more through adapt the pieces into my current style. Producing almost new pieces that I can be more proud of.

 

Writing, however, is a practice that requires a time commitment. Through my personal project, I learned that the best way to write is to write frequently enough so that it becomes a second nature. That way, when you sit down to write it becomes you end of getting more words (and as a result) from it. Similarly, editing and writing together to produce a good piece is a long winded process. Especially when editing, I have to let things rest and then go at it all at once. Getting into a state of flow makes the process more involved, reflecting, and helps me get the good stuff in. However, time is something I feel I don’t have a lot of as a senior and therefore it’s difficult to make or set time aside, especially when the outcome feels far away.
To make a process that takes time a bit easier and manageable for myself, I’ve planned a process that won’t intimidate me and won’t take more time than I’m already taking for myself. I have a terrible self care habit where I actually like to relax for an hour in the evening with my family and watch mindless reality TV shows on netflix. I usually end up doing CAS during this time anyways, so to also make it a time to transcribe from my notebook and make small tweaks along the way is not a huge change to my schedule.
When doing the actual writing or editing I knew I would need more time and have to form habits with more intent. For me the weekends often propose a lot of idle time since I can’t spend my whole day working. I have realised the importance of taking rejuvenating breaks and have used otherwise unpleasant gaps of time to sit alone on the couch, in the sun , or at a cafe to write + edit work. It brings me a lot of joy and makes my weekends feel productive in a more relaxed way.
I’ve also made to take moments of inspiration and make sure I write them down no matter the circumstance. There were often times when I was going to bed, going through bedtime/morning routines, or on the train when I had an idea that I encouraged but never took down. Previously to doing this I found that I only wrote when I was upset and formed the unhealthy mindset that often surrounds the “tortured artist”. The notion of madness being necessary to artistry is encouraged by the lack of actually practising as a writer. It means writing only when catharsis is necessary. However, when you write at all moments of inspiration you’re allowing yourself to write more and more which is really the only way to become a better writer. Easy reading is damn hard writing, but the more you do it the more “small things” you filter out, leaving room for you to struggle with more sophisticated and refined technique.

 

I’ve found that turning passion into an hobby has allowed me to not only refine my craft but see my evolution as a person and a writer. To have time with my work has increased my confidence in it. I now have more pieces that I am proud of now since I know they reflect the best of my abilities at this point in time. I’ve become comfortable with sharing some of my pieces publicly, which has helped me distinguish from creative journaling/catharsis and a piece that might also hold value and interest for the reader. Both in terms of content and theme.