Whether I am drawn to writing self-help, science fiction or fiction, for me, there is nothing more fundamental than writing honestly. Not brutally, but endeavouring always to be clear about my motives and what I am trying to say.
It is through writing honestly that the conviction forms in me that can lead to convincing writing, authentic dialogue, heartfelt emotions. For each genre the disciplines will naturally differ, but without core honesty – which perhaps I could call freedom of expression – I find my writing withers and loses its purpose.
We write for a number of reasons:-
– To learn about something or to gain empathy. This drove me to write my memoir.
– To earn money and make a living: an honest and worthy motive, which helps us to be clear what parts of our material might appeal to others and thus bring commercial success.
– As an outlet for personal or artistic expression. For joy, for hope, writing has its purest justification, one which is often at risk of being downplayed, particularly by writers who are dismissive of what they bring to the writing table.
But whatever our motivation, it seems to me that our writing can only take root and flower if it is an honest reflection of our lives and experiences. Naturally we hope to emulate writers we admire – how else can we refine our own style? – but though imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, flattery, almost by definition, flirts with the truth. I do adore flattery… – I’m sure I’m not alone – but when the chips are down, I find that gently offered truth is more valuable.
Thanks for listening.