Hello, bonjour, once upon a time, good morning? How do you say this is the start?
The beginning is equally as hard as the middle, the bit before the middle, the climax, that other bit and the end. Being part of Mismatch, a theatre company where originality comes as easily as a pot plant to a millennial, writing is a big factor.
If like me, creative writing makes your skin shrivel, your nostrils flare and sudden Year 4 flashbacks of, “I feel sick, Miss, can you call my Mummy?” then you’ll understand my distress. Those who don’t... well put down your quills, parchment and notebooks and prepare to see how the other half live.
Offering to write this blog will inevitably be added to my list of “things I said yes to but wish I hadn’t and cried about for several days”. I’m joking. I don’t have a list. It’s more of a novel, which is somewhat ironic given the situation, but I promise I’ll try my best.
Many different approaches to writing make it hard to work out how you’re really supposed to do it. Google defines writing as, “Writing: the activity or skill of writing” (insanely helpful, thank you Google). BBC Bitesize hosts the ground breaking discovery that “most stories consist of a beginning, a middle and an end” (good to know). Or you could just follow the inspirational words of an old Creative Writing Lecturer: “What you’ve got to do, Elle, is you’ve just got to write it”. All genius tips. However just being told to do something or given minor details of what that thing entails and how we should go about it, isn’t the motivation we need. We want to know one thing and one thing only, and that thing is why!
So, buckle your seat belts, put down that donut, because here it comes...
I don’t know why.
Now, before you start heading to close the page, bear with me a smidge longer. Why you, me or Keith from next door should write, will never be answered. These days it seems increasingly impossible just to have a creative hobby. We are living in a time where everything has to be given a value. This usually involves making endless money or being the most successful in that field. This outlook on life and what you do with it, makes these expressive side-hustles become overwhelmingly pressuring. One can no longer enjoy an activity, such as writing, without feeling as though they should have a society-instructed reason for doing so. If you, or anyone you know, has a creative degree you’ve probably made jokes like “I spent £21,000 learning how to be a cat”, or why a lot of people break away from artistic activities because, “it’s so hard to get a stable job”. I might not be able to tell you why you should write, but I can tell you this is the reason I feel I shouldn’t.
Year 4 flashbacks of, “I feel sick, Miss, can you call my Mummy?”. Sitting in a class for an hour, where the value of writing comes from how good your punctuation is, or the use of “deep scarlet” instead of “red”, or if the story isn’t two pages long there’s no way it can be Shakespeare. We fast forward to High School where the writing becomes about GCSE grades and where best to place the picture of a burger, in your article about obese children. Whether you then brave the writing further into A Level, or not, you are never free. The expectation to then write your way into university, with a cocky (but not too cocky) insight into why you’re amazing (but still humble) and deserve (but never expect) a place on the course of your dreams. It ends here for most. Unless, you decide to accept a course in drama, in which a quarter of the course is dedicated to, you guessed it, creative writing. Despite the now care-free attitude of expressing yourself and writing what you want to write; it still has to be the best if you want to get that 1st.
To write a blog, about not liking writing, may seem ironic or make me somewhat untrustworthy, but I have a little confession… I kind of enjoy it. Now don’t get me wrong, about a year ago I would’ve performed a monologue naked, riding a porcupine, whilst eating a whole pot of toxic waste, if it meant I didn’t have to write the monologue. The constant pressures and expectations that came with writing; the changing opinions on what I wrote, from a sticker in my English book, to a U in Creative Writing A Level, to a 1st in my university writing project, to what? All these values, put on writing, just filled me with fear and confusion. Constantly asking myself “what’s the point?”. Trying to find a reason, another value, to write again.
Recently I have written a children’s picture book…
COMING TO A WATERSTONES NEAR YOU!
It’s not. Though that is my point. The joy I find in reading and writing children’s fiction is the value, the reason, to why I write now. Of course, to sell the book and make millions and watch an animated retelling on Christmas day, narrated by Dame Judy Dench *deep breath* would be incredible. But that isn’t the reason why I want to write a children’s book. That is just one of the exciting unknowings of what could be; from just doing something creative, because you want to and you enjoy doing it is the only value you need.
Therefore I challenge you. Take advantage of this time and try something creative. It doesn’t have to be writing. It could be performing a scene with your cat as the villain, doing some pottery and pretending you’re in Ghost, singing every Lady Gaga song in a French accent, painting your entire foot (always read the label) and just have fun!
Do it because you can, not because you should.
So, with that, I say goodbye, au revoir, and they all lived happily ever after, good evening? How do you say this is…