It's only words...

When I was at university a person far brighter described me as a flaneur. At first I was taken aback. A few days later, after the idea had sunk in, I was secretly pleased. To Baudelaire a flaneur was the ‘gentleman stroller of city streets’, my preferred description is ‘a man who saunters around observing society.’ It seems remarkably appropriate for someone who mixed readily, but always felt on the outside, the perpetual observer. That’s not altogether a bad thing. Studying society’s richness and having the patience to work out what is going on provides some of the insight you may need as a writer.

But watching is only half of writing, it is not by accident that writers are often described as wordsmiths. Writing is not an art, it is a craft, you are an artisan and not an artist. And like every other form of ‘smith’ – blacksmith, silversmith, locksmith – it demands an apprenticeship and plenty of practice. Smith comes from Old English smitan, from which we get the word smite, and it means to forge and fabricate. Shaping your ideas and words into a written form is an energetic process.

Sharing our writing skills

You're never too old or too young to develop your skills. These are a few things I've learned along the way and, in various classes, found useful to encourage people to write and build their confidence.

A few things I knocked up

Most of these are only a few hundred words and demonstrate the range of writing it is useful to have at your disposal. The more 'voices' we can deploy, the more interesting our writing becomes.