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Plant Words and Watch Them Grow

Plant Words and Watch Them Grow

I love planting things – carefully, gently, adding plant food and water and lovely fresh soil. But then, without fail, I watch as they wither and turn grey and disintegrate.

I was heartened, therefore, to read this beautiful piece by the writer Yoojin Grace Wuertz, who acknowledges her own struggle to turn her fingers green. She gives the lovely advice that you should do what you can and then leave the rest to the flora Powers that Be: ‘I began to accept the notion that the natural world had its own rhythms and timeline that I could not change no matter how hard I pushed.’

This is where writing comes in. Like the flowers and vegetables she planted, Wuertz found that her writing needed patience, space, time and acceptance in order to grow. It could not be pushed and cajoled into life through sheer persistence.

As a writer, particularly in a world of such immediacy, it’s easy to forget that the process takes time. You can chain yourself to a desk for five hours each day and hammer out words till you hit your daily target, but ideas still need time and space in which to germinate. If you don’t balance desk time with experiencing the outside world, how else can its truths filter through into your words?

And once you’ve finished your memoir or novel or short story, of course, you need more patience. Wait as people read your work; wait for an agent or publisher to pick it up, if that is your aim; wait for your manuscript to turn into a physical book.

And then? Wait for inspiration to kick in for the next one. Because it will, like some – but not all – the seeds you plant in soil. You just need to let it.

MK

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Further Musings...

Polly Hall – Runner-Up in Our NWD Competition 2017

Polly Hall – Runner-Up in Our NWD Competition 2017

Runner-up piece from the National Writing Day 2017 Competition held on Twitter.

Polly Hall’s elegantly written, uncomfortable piece of macabre literary fiction both intrigued and disturbed us.  It forms the opening of her unpublished novel. Read the extract here.

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Your ‘Unique Literary Territory’

Your ‘Unique Literary Territory’

There are scores of over-quoted rules relating to the craft of writing. ‘Show, don’t tell.’ ‘Make your verbs work harder’ (which generally just means: avoid relying too much on adverbs). And – my personal bugbear – ‘Only write what what you know.’

This last was iterated with great vehemence by a famous author I recently went to see …

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Why “Show, Don’t Tell” Does Matter

Why “Show, Don’t Tell” Does Matter

This article by George Saunders is just the most gorgeous description of how a writer writes, and why, and why it matters. It’s too good to do justice by summarising it here* so I just recommend you read it.

It really deserves being read somewhere quiet while you’re sitting comfortably with a nice cup of tea – but even on a busy tube with wet feet it should…

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Apply here for the Ink Academy Writing Course

Applying to the Ink Academy Writing Course is quick and simple. Just upload a sample of your writing below, along with your name and email address, and we will be in touch with enrolment details.

The sample of your writing does not need to be polished or perfect, or even from the work you want to develop on the course. It is just so that we can ensure our course is best placed to help you. For more details, please see our FAQs.

Please feel free to include any additional information, for example:
– Anything you’d like us to know about your writing experience, the project you’d like to work on or the submission you’ve uploaded below
– Preferred times and days for tutorials
– Whether you would like any additional Group Workshops (1 is included in the price)

Upload 1,000-5,000 words of your writing here: