I’m going to INBOUND 2017 and I’m so dam excited! I can’t believe I am able to go.
And I’ve been such a huge fan of most of the 2017 speakers for years… I can’t wait to hear their talks.
I would argue (today) that all writing is copy writing. Including journalism, reviews and other forms, because it is essentially promoting the worthiness of its own subject e.g. promoting the experience of listening to music, in the case of an album review.
In that sense, it’s like philosophy. It argues for its own existence.
.. Except philosophical arguments can undermine their own existence. It’s the only academic subject that can, and does.
Okay, so I would say philosophical writing isn’t copy writing.
As for art – novels, plays, poetry. That’s the most self-promotional writing of all, isn’t it? Because all writers are egotistical and are arguing for a legacy. Art promotes a feeling in you, copy writing promotes a feeling for you to put money to. Copy writing, therefore, is an extension of art. So all writing would therefore be copy writing.
A reply to Jeff Goins, here:
Because I only know what I think when I write, and I only know what I feel after I’ve written, mused, and write more. I’m closer to what makes me, me. And what I want to say, to assert that.
To clarify, for peace of mind, to muse. So that when I express, my private thoughts have been given the right attention on paper, to both validate and let them free. I write to let go – I can only let go when I have written it down. That goes for to do lists, emotions and poetically annoying wisps that blind my sight when I have to focus.
For joy. When I write, with a greater control and freedom over what might happen to those words, I really feel joy. And if there is something I need to express – anger, sadness, desperation, happiness – it is all enhanced with joy when I write. Not necessarily directly about those things either – sometimes when I write something completely different, it seeps in and I recognise my intuition churning in mysterious ways.
Because… I just like it. And when I don’t like it, I don’t.
Because I’ve learnt to say no to writing.
I can only drive the supercar at a top speed when I know the brakes are working. To be a writer, I believe it is important to write, often, and deliberately and consciously not write. Both are important. You can’t be a writer without both. Or maybe I just can’t be me, without both.
Because I have a purpose, even if that purpose is simply art for art’s sake. Because morning pages and streams of consciousness refresh me like a shower that pours over the top of my thoughts and in the process, cleans them.
Because I flourish when I appreciate the words I use. And I flourish when I listen to a mastery of language. It is the highest beauty… that I appreciate. Maybe it’s different for others. But I know myself better when I absorb, and become inspired by, the best writing and performing of writing.
And I write…
To thank you, Jeff Goins. You’ve been an inspiration, although you haven’t known it.
Why do you write, create, or otherwise do what you do?
Please share with us, either in the comments, or on your blog and link to it below. <3
These are a couple of snippets that were taken out of the play I am writing “Life, Death and Journalism”.
It’s in the second-third draft stage and needs work.
Jack is a journalist encouraged to resign by his editor after his own existential crisis on the point of journalism, and these are some of his doubts.
“So why are we doing this? Isn’t life more important than the barrage of news and words about news and everyone trying to get their by-line to the story first – where is enjoyment and art for art’s sake and play in all this? No one has time to even appreciate how tough it is to write quality, perfect stories and a badly written story is just as good anyway, all those writers craft in their rooms and for what? There is no stage for the countless hours of practising writing, just more lonely writing, it’s not like the hours spent practising Jimi Hendrix in his bedroom to play the guitar. Music is more enjoyable to listen to than reading harsh news.”
It’s just words, endless, unnecessary verbiage
Erudite and intellectual articulation of issues
That no one has time for
I don’t understand why people would consciously choose
To leisurely read the handpicked most painful, deliberately provocative,
Stories of today’s messy and stupid humanity
Crafted into a product and broadcast to masses of people
How does a writer keep it together?
Writers have egos (at least, I do), a brand, a face, and a myriad of options to write and experiment, particularly online. Bits and pieces here and there submitted to competitions, freelance work, your own blog, writing to perform, and all this just to write that one truest sentence. An online portfolio is totally different to your CV and your brand should convey that all – but how can this all be coherent? I am asking you, I am not sure myself. Because it’s like every time I write my ‘bio’ and think about my direction and image, it changes when I am commissioned or I do another piece of work, or when I see a job ad that I realise I want but I never thought of that before. Just like choosing your GCSEs with your future career in mind, it’s impossible to portray a coherent brand that encompasses everything you are… and everything you will be. At the very least, you’ll be bored with the same brand your entire life, and philosophically, what is your identity anyway?
It’s easy to see the literary greats on Brain Pickings giving advice and see them as their consistent whole, as if they were always destined to be that. But they must have grown and changed and doubted. And as an artist, you do what you like, but you never know the value and popularity of any given piece of work. And these literary greats are known for their great works but who are they, really? I’m not even sure who I am, more than half the time!
How do you coin phrases when you don’t know what phrases will be used after you coin them?
There’s my ephemeral question for you artistic readers to answer.
What a joy to drive – I mean, write with – this red-blooded supercar… pen.
This Ferrari 500 pen will make people turn their heads and bump into things.
But the delight is in the writing.
The emblazoned clip with prancing horse emblem is heavy enough to weigh down one side and my words are possibly streamlined for it. It’s a smooth, even ink flow and a heavy, solid pen. The case is bold red, black velvet inside, and is a perfect gift for a special achievement or occasion.
Or… just keep it for yourself to sign the cheque when you buy your Ferrari 458 ;)
A writer’s tale of the recessions
At the first dip my editor wanted me to move faster. With no time to love or study, I flew across the world in a hurry. But my work life flashed before my eyes when I was first at the scene of a crime. I saw the truck drive too fast and life cut too short and I ripped up my notebook of futility and thought. I felt too much to be objective about a homicide’s inflective.
At the second dip my editor wanted me to stay down. I wrote alone in a darkened room and withered away. I analysed obscurities and lost my spontaneity. I choked down cheap rum to mellow my protests as I pursued a career in a mess. I kept in line but eventually cracked at the limit of wasted time.
By the third dip, I wasn’t sure I needed my editor anymore.
I said my life is in progress and needs a first draft. Your edits to my freedom now seem rather daft. I keep my mistakes and my quirks and the pain that still lurks when I doubted I’d make it today. You want to digress but I define my own success and now I understand me. I had to kill the editor before the editor killed what I could be.
Life and work mooshed together in code.
Performed at Forget What You Heard (about spoken word).
AWESOME NEWS ABOUT ARTS INTERNSHIPS!
The Arts Council England has posted a public warning to employers recruiting unpaid interns via their jobs website http://www.artsjobs.org.uk. The announcement, featured prominently on the home page and every page, reads:
We recognise that there is great value in people having access to proper work experience, where it is offered and arranged properly and is a mutually beneficial arrangement, but that this should never be used as a way of attempting to circumvent national minimum wage regulations. Please ensure that your posts are compliant with our terms and conditions. We reserve the right to remove any posts without further notice to you which, in our reasonable judgment, do not comply with the terms and conditions.
Internships in the arts
Arts Council and Creative & Cultural Skills have published these guidelines to help clarify the legal obligations of arts organisations offering internships. Please note that we will not accept postings on Arts Jobs for unpaid internships unless they are part of a recognised further or higher education course.
The Arts Council has also published guidelines to clarify the legal obligations of arts organisations offering internships here.
Tanya de Grunwald is tireless and inspiring. She wrote the useful and brilliant books How to Get a Graduate Job in a Recession and Dude, Where’s My Career?: The Guide for Baffled Graduates (recommended!). She has written on the subject in national newspapers and magazines and she inspired me from the beginning of my own bewilderment just out of University in the recession.
Graduate Fog has campaigned against unpaid graduate internships and the site is an awesome source of graduate careers advice – particularly in the arts and media, the two worst offenders when it comes to exploitation of keen, young graduates.
The Arts Council announcement and guidelines are fantastic news!
Arts Council England’s executive director Moira Sinclair said to Graduate Fog:
“The arts in England can only benefit from a wide range of ideas and voices in both artistic and leadership roles. If we don’t create fairer entry routes into the arts workforce we risk closing the door on a new generation of talented leaders from a range of backgrounds, and the arts will suffer.
“That’s why the Arts Council published Internships in the Arts last year, which we hope will help arts organisations offer high quality, paid internship opportunities that don’t put them at risk of legal action. These guidelines reflect the law, rather than create new rules or regulations, and while the Arts Council has no legal authority to find an employer in breach of the law we would encourage all arts organisations to take note of their responsibilities.
“We are working hard to ensure that employment opportunities in the arts are open to all and to build a diverse, highly skilled arts workforce which is why we have also established the Creative Employment Programme.”
Use this job search on Graduate Fog to filter out unpaid graduate positions!
I want to write but I don’t want to be lonely. I get lonely.
When I have poured myself out onto the page or work in isolation, I look up in a haze for interaction to fill up.
Some writers like that. And I feel worse about it then. Like, I’m meant to like it.
Writers write to connect with people but the actual process of writing involves aloneness.
It might be my situation that is lonely and writing doesn’t help (although it does, once I do it – but afterwards, not so much).
Yes, real art and real writing is about real life and real pain and it’s brave and embarrassing and that is how I resonate and connect with you. And sometimes it’s braver to point out what’s good in a cynical world.
But on the other hand…
A book written badly can be enjoyed by millions of readers. That’s connection, with the book, and with the other readers between themselves. Nice words don’t matter if you don’t have a story, a journey for the reader to experience, and you need to think about that before you write. You have to reveal it slowly if at all and seduce the reader to think and feel. Good writing is not even words. It’s thinking. Alone.
Losing a very social and great job at the same time as moving house are the two most stressful things in the world by objective standards. They were the most overwhelming and isolating things when I experienced them. And at that time, my partner preferred alone time while alone time for me was painful.
I looked up loneliness and I learned something. With self-awareness, it is a closeness to yourself and a distance from others.
I wonder if that’s true for work.
I love it at times and hate it at others. I’m a bipolar writer?
At the end of the day, when I haven’t made ends meet, I conclude I have nothing to show for my work and achievements pale in comparison to others. I forget why people read and why people write and then I don’t understand what I do.
That’s probably a sign. Often, people feel lonely when they put others first and they come second. Maybe that goes for my work too. When it feels bad, I need to put myself first and my work second.
I’m going for a walk.
Here’s my theory.
Bad art is simply produced by an artist who is learning. That’s what failure is. And it fails because the artist didn’t have enough discipline, preparation, focus, or inherent talent. It fails because it’s a first experiment, a shaky start, the artist wasn’t sure about it, and it’s the only way to find out how to improve. The artist simply hasn’t learned, from experience, about what feels best (for them).