05 December 2014

Writing



A few weeks ago I seriously considered giving up writing this blog.  I have many ideas for future posts but I do find writing them very time consuming, writing does not come naturally to me, but in the same week I read something that made me change my mind.  It really helped to put things into perspective.

I was articulate as a child, still am, I am a confident speaker happy to stand in front of a room full and people and talk.  In my last job I had to do this frequently, my audience volunteers who in their professional lives were often older and far higher up the management ladder than me.  Armed with a card of word prompts I could deliver presentations, workshops and training sessions without hesitation, but ask me to write a letter, which I had to do often, it would take me all morning.

At 18 just before sitting my final school exams, one of my teachers informed me that she thought I had wasted the previous two years studying English as I was never going to pass*.  Aside from the fact that no teacher should ever speak like that to a student, what she and all my other teachers in the 14 years I spent at school failed to recognise and help me with is why I had such difficulty writing.  The flow of my words was disjointed, I rambled and often didn't make sense, I scraped through exams and my essays were always given low marks.

So when I was reading in a chapter in a book by Michael Rosen about reading and writing....'it's not just a matter of learning off pat some good words or sentences, you have to learn the special kind of 'voice' that is the writing 'voice','  it made me stop, completely and the fog cleared.  I read on about other facets of writing that can be hard to learn such as commenting on what it is we're actually writing or the way that you explain are more types of writing voice.  Was I perhaps trying to write using the wrong voice.  Could it be that for all of these years I have been trying to write using my speaking or talking voice.  I am not so stupid that I didn't realise that there was a difference between these two forms of communication but I had no idea, practically, how they were different.

It explains to me why my teachers were always surprised at my inability to do well in exams or essay writing when I came across so articulate.  It explains why my boss in my last job informed that he was hesitant to take on as my writing skills tested in interview were poor.  It explains why for years I had jobs where writing was not integral part of the job.

So why on earth would I even want to blog.  Well I have always wanted to improve my writing and be better at it.  I am never going to be a blogger who can sit at the keyboard and rattle off a quick post ** but, maybe, just maybe I will find that writing voice that has been eluding for so long.......

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*I did pass A Level English, with a C grade (these exams are graded from A - E, A being the top mark)

**It usually takes me a whole day, on and off (more on than off) to write a post of this length.


23 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I am sorry that you have deleted your kind and thoughtful comment. I do hope that I have not offended you in some way?

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  2. Could you be dyslexic? That sounds exactly like my son. He is brilliant at talking but can't write it. Good on you for fighting through it. I love reading your blog.

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    1. No I don't think I am dyslexic as I have no problems with reading. My difficulty is with word flow, I think of something great to write and then I forget it by the time I come to actually type it! It's the same issue people have when standing up in front of audience to talk but for writing.....

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  3. Well I think you write beautifully. And I. Envy you that ability to stand in front of a room full of people and present. Whenever I've had to do that in past jobs it has ended up with me having a panic attack of some kind.
    I don't say that lightly - the fear of public speaking seriously limited my career progression (although teaching children was never a problem).
    I do have an English degree though and have never struggled with writing...
    We all have our own abilities and limitations. But do keep writing and discovering.
    Now that was a long comment!
    S :)

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  4. I love your writing - don't change too much! I find that writing on the keyboard is different to writing by hand and often comes out in a different voice. Just be yourself - those of us who follow you love the voice you use and what you have to say.

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  5. I would never have guessed that you have trouble writing from your blog posts, they're always eloquent and put together beautifully. My daughter is taking English A level and has been struggling with it a little. She had a progress test this week and has done better than she thought so is very pleased.

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  6. I enjoy all of your posts. I think they are well written - they always seem to be thoughtful and as the lady above said 'honest'. I have noticed that you do not always post pictures but have never found them to be lacking as what you have to say is captivating in itself.
    I hope you continue with your blog, but understand that it is time consuming.

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  7. I love your writing voice! And I love reading about your lovely life with your family, especially as you home educate : ) I hope that you continue to develop your writing to the point where you are comfortable with it!

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  8. I admire you for writing what you do, i have a much easier task of documenting our days! Finding a writing voice is very hard and that is one reason why I have stuck to the "here is what we did today routine!"

    Your teacher sounded horrendous :-(

    San xx

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  9. I'm glad you are going to carry on blogging! x

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  10. I've only just found your blog but I think you're a very good writer.

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  11. keep writing! and don't necessarily think that you have to find a writing voice, or change the one you have because there is something wrong with it, just maybe accept that this one is Your voice, but look for ways to make it easier to express yourself.

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  12. I admire anyone who can give a presentation. I would be terrified! I have always liked your writing voice. You come across as very natural and authentic which is often a rare thing in blogging these days. Keep blogging! You're on my blog list :)

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    1. Thank you. I do try to be authentic but then I worry that that will put people off........

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  13. I love how your blog has developed - your writing voice has matured beautifully and I enjoy reading it, even if I don't often comment (sorry) keep going. interestingly this post came up next to Michael Rosen's in my blog feed :) xx

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    1. Thank you Jacqui that is very kind of you, and thank you for commenting. Please don't worry about not having commented much of late I totally understand.

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  14. As a reader, I think you should definitely keep writing the blog, but only if it is fun for you and you feel a sense of accomplishment from it. I am the opposite of you - public speaking is one of my biggest fears and I am awful at it - my brain just shuts down. If I have something important to say to someone, being able to write it down (yeah for the age of emails!) is a much more effective way of communicating for me. Glad that you have found a bit of light in something that is difficult for you.

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  15. I think that would make perfect sense. For a lot of people the writing voice and the speaking voice is very similar, or practically indistinguishable but there's no good reason why that should be the case. Whatever the voice I'm certain that the only way to get any better is to keep practicing; I've just got to sit down and get on with it! And I'm delighted that you're not stopping blogging, not least because I've only just discovered you :)

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  16. I am another who is very glad that you have decided to continue. And I am also another who can't write blog posts quickly, most take me a few hours, including image processing. And I write for a living so you'd think I'd just be able to rattle posts off in the same way I write other stuff. But a personal blogger's blog posts are essentially self portraits and I think that makes the job much harder to get right. And you do get it right.

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  17. Well, I think we have a had a bit of this discussion before :) Funny, how not so long ago, and still lingering a little, I was thinking the same thing. Writing can be very difficult for (so many!) reasons - personally, I find it the amount of concentration it requires of me - not easy with a household of rowdy young men :) Your posts have always struck me with their thoughtfulness, your honesty/candidness, and your truly unique perspective. I think your voice is there, or at least a voice that speaks from a side of you is there, and I hope I will continue to be able to hear it for as long as you want to share it with us. xo p.s. the light in this photo is so lovely!

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