The Biggest Secret of Writing

I’m going to reveal a big secret, perhaps the biggest of all. It’s as sharp and tingly as a slap in the face, it’s simply this:

Writing is not writing.

“Eh?” You gasp, “Zahid’s lost it this time. He’s joined the Circus of the Lunatics”.

Let me explain.

Writing is not about taking a pen in your hand and writing.
Writing is not about sitting in front of a PC and typing.
Writing is not about sitting with a Dictaphone and speaking out your thoughts.

Writing is the process by which you fling your imagination into the real world.
In fact, some of my friends would argue that it isn’t even that – it’s just your imagination codified. And some of my friends would argue that it isn’t even the imagination – it’s simply channeling what you see, hear, feel, think and touch.

A few days ago I was delivering a creative writing workshop to some young women. I told them to absorb what was around them. I asked to them to look and to keep looking. I asked them to seek patterns and ask questions and to never stop.

When you realise that writing is not simply the physical act of writing, but the fusion of imagination, observation and downright curiosity it’s amazing what happens to you. When struggling to describe a scene, sit back and let yourself sink into the scene in your head and describe it. Voila, it writes itself.

Writing is simply daydreaming onto paper.

ZHZ

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