The last few weeks have been something of an English-fest for me. Many of the students I tutor for high school English are coming towards the end of their academic year and are starting to prepare for their final exams. This involves a honing of all that they have learned over the course of the year. We’ve been talking about things like the use of emotive words, of how to make their sentences more powerful, of trying to show their understanding of what they’ve studied in a clear way.
I have also taken on a project ghost-writing a book. For commercial reasons I am not able to talk too much about this project. What I can say is that it's been a great opportunity to get back to what I love most: writing books. Because I have been doing a lot of business writing over the past twelve to fifteen months, I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on writing my own projects. I now realise how much I have missed this.
Although ghost-writing can be quite prescriptive, there’s still a sense in which you are still the creator, particularly during the first draft. You have to decide how things are going to be laid out. You have to decide on how things will be structured. You have to decide on what words will be used. It’s you and the blank page which, with time and work, suddenly becomes something that never before existed.
I love the simple joy of words, of trying to find the perfect one to communicate an idea or an instruction or an inspiration. The word that is going to help someone else to understand things they didn’t before or to make their life a little better. And lucky for me, English is a rich tapestry of words from which to choose. And choose I have. A book that at its outset was going to be eight chapters has now become nine. As I type these words I am nearly finished writing chapter seven.
But strangely, rather than feeling resentful about the commercial work I have been doing, I also find myself feeling grateful for it. Having to write about subjects that have at times been beyond my interest or experience – and to a deadline – has given me a greater level of discipline. And in working on this project, I am also feeling a greater enthusiasm for other personal projects I have in mind.
So watch out world, I’ve been overtaken by the joy of words. Hopefully many more will be coming your way in the near future.
Coming soon. . .