Acquiring the Craft…

The word “writer” often carries weighty connotations. Some see a “writer” as a genius whose works astonish and awe the world. Others perceive a “writer” as “mad” and “misunderstood” artist who lives on the edge of life, burdened by their aforementioned genius and often turning to drink and drugs for both inspiration and solace.

The truth, at least concerning the vast majority of writers (and all creative artists), is more mundane. Writing is a craft, a skill anyone can acquire through practice. Although writers can be drug addicts and alcoholics just like members of any other profession – they can also be tee-total, health nuts or just very ordinary people living on your street who do regular things like shop at Tesco’s or Walmart and go to the pub/club on Friday night.

In other words, writers are normal people and as different from each other and varied as regular people are. The single trait they all have in common is that they write. By that, I mean they are disciplined and they write on a regular basis. They give time to their craft, acquiring it, polishing it, perfecting it.

I was thinking of this point this week when a friend of mine saw his debut novel published. Apocalypse Cow is a wirk by Glaswegian writer Michael Logan, who served his apprenticeship as a creative writer via a writing group in Budapest (my old home). His novel went on to win the Terry Pratchett prize last yeear. I mention Apocalypse Cow not only as a congratulatory plug for a well deserving author but because it is reassuring to know that a nice, down-to-earth, hard-working, good guy like Michael gets to see his work published by a mainstream publishing house. Very much looking forward to reading my copy (on order).

 

Well done, Michael, you’re an inspiration to all of us!

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About suehealy

Literary Manager at the Finborough, Sue Healy is a playwright with a track record in stage and radio. Her most recent play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and was later selected for a staged-reading at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Her short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts by Women). Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has been an interviewed finalist for BBC Scriptroom 12, Eamonn Keane Playwriting Prize, Nick Darke Award and Old Vic 12 New Voices. Her screenplay was shortlisted for the Shorelight Award. Sue’s prose has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy. Sue is Irish. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumna. Sue is currently an Associate Lecturer in Playwriting at the University of Lincoln and the University of Portsmouth. She tutors Creative Writing at City Lit. View all posts by suehealy

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