Getting your writing right

By Frank Bolger - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

This week saw the launch of Dublin Writer’s Festival 2013 – replete with fascinating talks, readings, book launches and creative writing workshops.

Given Ireland’s reputation as a nation of scribes and scholars (for such a small island our literary contribution has been immense), it hardly comes as a surprise to see that many of the aforementioned workshops have already been booked out. But there is no point lamenting a missed opportunity or putting your notebook and pen/typewriter/laptop away until next year: learning to craft good fiction or journalism is a ongoing process that requires time, patience, and plenty of self-motivation.

Reading a lot and setting aside some time every day to jot down a few ideas is a good place to begin. And while shaping and developing your characters, plot and dialogue will sometimes be a painstaking, laborious undertaking, at other times it will seem that all is borne aloft on a tide of inspiration. Then there are also the rewrites and edits as you whittle down your work to its necessities, ridding it of superfluous detail, reworking scenes and events, creating an opening to grab the reader’s attention and an ending to remain in their memory.

It is not easy, but if it was, we’d probably have more writers than readers (and where would any writer be without readers Reposing in obscurity).

But when the going gets tough and writer’s block drops a curtain over your mind’s eye, the solution is often seemingly unlikely and disarmingly simple: accountability. Having an obligation to produce work is as effective a kick-starter as any. Most authors and journalists bemoan the dreaded spectre of a publisher’s deadline, yet few would produce books even on a semi-regular basis if it was not for that sense of obligation. Therefore, working for others can, in a sense, actually free an author from the burden of self-expectation and the danger of overworking their manuscripts. Creative Writing classes offer essential advice on the technicalities of writing. They will help cultivate your imagination too. More than anything else, though, they will get budding authors to commit their ideas to paper, where they belong.

Frank Bolger

'The limits of my language mean the limits of my world'
Diet and Nutrition: one hot potato!