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    Home Articles

    Private Space

    Where and when do you write? For most people it isn't easy, especially when they're just starting to think they might be a writer.

    Under the bed covers. In the car. Parked in a lay-by. Sometimes it seems your only privacy is in the loo. It's like having a clandestine affair. Not that you're ashamed you write, or are banned, but you just don't want anyone to see it yet.

    Starting to write needs you to unashamedly empty your thoughts on paper, rather like tipping the contents of a dustbin on to a flat surface. Then you either pick out the jewels one at a time, or you remove the majority of trash so that only the good stuff is left.

    You didn't have to do it in the first place: you could've merely resigned to the notion that your valuable thoughts get muddled in with the mundane material and eventually forgotten. As if that missing piece of jewellery wasn't worth the time and effort of searching.

    However, when you've done it you feel satisfied you've made a complete job of it; because you know that if you'd left your thoughts, like lost treasure, hidden in the bin then you'd never have been able to find the elements worth keeping.

    In your writing, you wouldn't ever learn how to decipher the best bits from the rubbish if you never went through this process of selection and elimination. You might never feel confident that there's enough in that 'bin' of yours to ever find anything worth writing about. You really need to tip it out and see it all laying before you!

    Finding the privacy to reveal all your thoughts - even for your own eyes - can be rather difficult when you're just starting out. It's as if you need license to do it because there's always that risk of somebody reading over your shoulder and saying "Oh, no, that's awful," or "That's wrong."

    Even if you do find the private time, you feel vulnerable to the possibility of your loved one rifling through your belongings when you're not around, and reading the 'trash' you've written. Worse if they found it before you've had the time or mental distance to magnify the real gems. You might not even know how sensitive is some of the content, until you go back to it.

    One serious answer to this dilemma is to take up a writing course (or any other course involving writing, for that matter). This will give you good reason to do all of the above, so you'll no longer need to hide. You can write regardless of what other people think.

    1. You're doing it for 'homework'.
    2. You're writing for your tutor.
    3. You're experimenting with crap because it's part of your course work.
    4. The tutor wants to see the crap because she or he can tell you where to make the cuts.
    5. You can always say "The tutor doesn't think it's crap." The funny thing is, you will know instinctively when he or she is right.

    veryone needs a little private space. Making it work for you - and your writing - isn't as hard as it seems.

    Copyright © 2000 Bernie Ross

    Bernie's Web site: www.creativewritinglife.co.uk
    Email: writinglife@talk21.com
    Write to PO Box 4065, BRAINTREE, CM7 9RJ, UK

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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