Thoughts on Writing – Six Questions 201905/10/2019
What should writing represent?
Some think writing should represent a wider society, but I believe it’s bigger than that. I believe writing should represent the individual and how they fit into the wider community. The worlds too diverse to capture it in its entirety but the focus on one person’s place can be a powerful tool for social change.
One of my favourite novels does this perfectly. White Teeth, by Zadie Smith focuses on a multicultural society and multicultural characters as they figure out where they belong in the new and ever-changing London since world war two. To Kill a Mockingbird also does this by focusing on Scout and her father and their view of race inequality in the deep American south. Both works are fictional but come from a place the writers know well.
As I wrote this paragraph, I thought of more novels, but I have an article featuring them planned so I’ll stick to those two.
I can’t explain my motivation behind it. When I first started writing, I wanted to be like the rappers I idolised from the U.K and across the Atlantic. Eminem particularly inspired me. Technically, Eminem’s style was a level above anyone else out around the time I first heard him. His ability to rhyme whole sentences that said something as well helped me develop an idea of what I wanted to write.
At first, I copied him. Then after listening and learning from various other artists from around the world, and not just in hip-hop, I began to find my voice. My aim has always been to say something while perfecting the rhyme. I don’t know if I’ve mastered it yet, but that’s a part of the journey.
Any formal training?
I’m an experienced chef, and I have a degree in Sports and Exercise Science, but I’ve never studied writing at school. I didn’t pay attention in English either. The curriculum teaches English wrong. I read Great Expectations and Of Mice and Men last year and found myself in an exciting world filled with rememberable characters, but teachers always portrayed them as characters and not people.
The art of writing felt more factual than it did about characters and emotions. Reading is very personal and what one takes from a novel should reflect their personality, and not what self-declared experts tell them they should feel.
There’s nothing wrong with studying English or Creative writing. It’s something I wish I’d done, but I feel the artistic approach to writing is something you can’t teach. It’s about self-expression. But having said that, read more. It’s essential; every writer needs to understand the principles of their chosen field.
Do I think I can make a living writing about writing?
Make a living? Definitely. Become rich beyond belief? I can dream. I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility for someone to make a basic living from writing. Authors and bloggers have done it before, but for every success, there’s a lot more who have failed. That’s in every aspect of life. Business, sports, art, TV, and the list runs on. The dream continues. I’d love to turn my passion into a career, but that’s not why I write. I honestly just love writing and creating.
If I’m honest with myself, success and money might spoil it. Now I can write whatever I want, say whatever I want and post whenever I want, but with success and money on the line, I’d have to become stricter with my scheduling. It’ll change from a hobby to a job, and I might lose some control over my creativity. That said, if someone offers me a million pounds to write, I won’t turn it down. Wink.
Why not travel blogging or food?
I’ve started travel writing, more of a way to remember my adventures more than to move into travel blogging. I’d love to run a travel blog, but I wouldn’t know where to start. That, and I don’t have the luxury of travelling as much as I’d need to keep up with a blog schedule. Unless I relied on copying another person’s experience, but where’s the fun in that?
Before I became a chef, I dabbled in food writing and considered starting a sports science blog based on fitness and nutrition. I wasn’t particularly fit and smoked heavily at the time, but studying sports science has remained a part of my psychological makeup. I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, and the thought of smoking again scares me. The science has had time to marinate as an idea and a reality.
I work full-time in hot and stuffy kitchens surrounded by food served on glistening clean plates. The last thing I want to do when I get home is cook. I rarely prepare dinner. In terms of food writing, it was enjoyable when I started, but to come home and do the same thing with the same level of intensity again to prepare a blog post feels absurd. I may as well go back to work.
Creative wring allows me to escape while enjoying everything else. I go to the gym without worrying about whether I have the perfect routine to include on my blog. I enjoy working in a kitchen then switching off chef-mode when I clock-out. I need that buzz like I need a holiday. It’s a break. One that wouldn’t feel like a break if I spent every moment worrying about whether what I’m doing is blog-worthy.
What can you expect to find on this blog?
This blog evolved from posting poetry. I’ve also gone on a journey while drafting my novel, which has led me to document my adventure in writing. When I started, I knew nothing about the craft, and although I’ve learnt a lot about storytelling, there’s still plenty I don’t know. The journey continues, and every turning will bring something new, I’m sure. So for now, this blog is about writing. Specifically, my writing. Posts include things that have interested me or inspired me to write, as well as creative writing from me. There’s no set formula to the content, as long as I write it, and it’s related to my writing, whether directly or indirectly.
Written By Glenn Thomas