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What are you Striving for?

A sample of writing from the weekly writing group prompt - 'what are you striving for with your writing?'

Human Honesty

by Meg Mooney

The task of writing for me is both joyful as well as confronting: joyful because the act of writing and creating other worlds outside of myself allows me a freedom, a movement out into the wildness of my very soul; confronting because I’m forced to go into places that leave me feeling on a precipice, alone on a mountain where at any moment I may topple off.

Being brave in writing is one of the things I’m striving for all the time.

Many writers have the ability to go to dark and forbidding places. I’m thinking of crime writers whose work I like: Kate Atkinson, PD James, Henning Mankell, and yes, even good old Agatha. All three – though not so much Christie – temper the dark with human honesty, light as well, and these two qualities I feel are the essential part of ‘great writing’.

So I have to find the balance between joy, humour, honesty and ‘the dark’ – that is the quest I’m on. It requires practice, every day in fact, which is hard in these heady days when time seems to slip away over often trivial matters.

To go to a desert island or a cabin in the bush – that would be the ideal. To live there and write to one’s heart’s content.

A Safe Place

by Jennifer Neil

I get a lot from my writing group. First, the convener Christine gives invaluable help and advice with her comments about the pieces we have written. Then, as I mostly write at home in isolation, I find it’s a great help to go along to writing group to hear others’ writing. It encourages me to keep going with my memoir.

The group offers a safe place to read aloud quite painful stories from my past. It is also a weekly discipline for me to write a piece to read. I have to get over my constant feeling that I am not a good writer. This stems from my upbringing, as a child in the 1950s when girls were not expected to be clever. The attitude was that we should be grateful for marriage.

I started writing my memoir many years ago, but it went nowhere. Who would want to read it, I would think? But people kept telling me to write down all my experiences, so I decided to write down all the things I had been through, as short stories.

Then I came to my writing class and lost confidence at a great rate, without showing it, of course. Everyone wrote so well, and all with different styles. Soon I began to gain confidence, coming weekly and reading to receive Christine’s very good suggestions. Now I am happy to finish my book, and know it will be in my own style and it does not matter to me if only my family reads it. I am now racking my brain for a good title.



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