An open letter to Writing

I love writing, but we have had our difficulties.

An open letter to Writing

Dear Writing, it's not you, it's me.

Ever since I was little I have loved stories in every form, particularly reading them, obviously that fuels a young and creative imagination. I had imagined adventures, played out through toys or dress up, I would lull myself to sleep by imagining I had been kidnapped by pirates or was secretly a witch. Then when I got a bit older I would start to write these stories down. And for a while we had a brilliant relationship. The height of this came at my GCSE's when I wrote a short story piece for my coursework which I was unbelievably proud of.

However, academia soon got in the way. My education no longer encouraged me to write creatively, but instead to analyse everything I was reading. The only minor venture out from this was a creative portfolio I had to produce, however as this had to be in the same style as a chosen piece, mine being a fairy-tale, it required heavy analysis and even an academic commentary to explain what I had done, which did ruin the effect a little.

This got worse when I came to university, throughout my degree everything became very academic, always reading with a critical eye. Then when I wanted to pick up writing again, it was instead this time through journalistic writing. I began with opinion pieces and reviews and have since branched out, gaining much more experience. Last year I wrote copy for a local lifestyle magazine, which was very exciting, and over summer I got some insight into where writing could get me in a more corporate sense; rewriting legal documents in a user friendly way.

This made me think first of how much I can do with you Writing, I have written work targeted to university students, to an older, more affluent audience, to engineers and office staff, as well as to young people. But then it also made me think of how limited I am, as I can no longer write fiction.

I still have plenty of imagination. However, now when I write my ideas down, years of studying make it seem clumsy and clichéd. So I am starting from the beginning, going to a creative writing class, doing exercises such as 'freewriting'. It is slow progress, because I seem hyper critical of everything. So I am learning to use what I have learnt in all those years of studying novels, while at the same time trying to forget it too.

It's been hard Writing, but I think we are getting there. The Creative Writing class has almost been like couple's therapy, allowing us to work out our issues and deal with them. And even though I feel new to this again, it makes me happy, inhabiting another place, another world. Just letting the words and ideas flow.

While it is a shame our relationship has been so fractured, the silver lining is that I am discovering this part of you all over again. So here's to the future Writing, and hopefully to many years of creative, and criticism-free, stories.

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Ellen Orange

Ellen Orange Contributor

I am a 24 year old Marketing Officer from the North East with a passion for arts and writing. I did a BA in English Literature and an MA in Twentieth and Twenty First Century Literature at Durham University, because I love books and reading! I have experience in writing for a variety of student publications, as well as having contributed to Living North, a regional magazine and Culture magazine, a supplement to regional newspaper, The Journal. I have been part of a Young Journalists scheme writing for NewcastleGateshead's Juice Festival, a young people's arts and culture festival, and have since become a Team Juice member. As well as reading and writing, I love theatre, photography and crafts.

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