The Blog

The Unquenchable Fire in the Belly...

It can be difficult...this writing palaver. Like an unfulfilled childhood ambition, it pokes continually at one's resigned frame, asking the same questions on repeat.

This in turn, births an all-consuming belief most writers possess. A self-assuredness which convinces you, sitting behind your desk and tapping away at your keyboard, that you will eventually somehow, someday, make a difference.

All this, achieved without any political authority, economic influence or a warfare arsenal.

Just you and your chosen weapons of words, getting ready against all hope, to touch base with the implacable dictator, the unfeeling elite or the ordinary person on the street, who has completely tuned out, traumatised by a desperate bid to survive their overbearing conditions.

Staring at a blank piece of paper and urging your scrambled thoughts, to line up in an eloquent format and obey your quest to make some sort of contact. For if what one writes, had no impact on one's intended audience, could one then still confidently call oneself a writer?

How does one avoid the cardinal sins of; using several words when one would do or indulging in verboseness, when succinctness will suffice? You see what I did there?

Should a writer's emotions be dripping from their paragraphs, or is restraint a key driver in conveying a message the audience can relate to? Why even bother about relating to one's audience?

Is engaging with the audience, a requisite for a serious writer? Is it in fact, just a form of lazy pandering or an indispensable trait for any wordsmith true to his or her craft?

Must all writers be serious? Even the ones who satirise for a living? Is a deadpan delivery more effective than parody, when the issues at hand, are of a - shall we say - more sombre nature?

Why all these questions?

Well, it's a lonely task....writing, that is. But one, that is guided by a certain amount of nobility, so it's always necessary to contemplate on the ethics, as well as techniques of the art.

Very few writers for instance, write for no reason. They are always trying to change something and the wind in their sails, though abating intermittently, never stops blowing.

The fire never leaves the belly.

Writers must persevere and keep dropping their nuggets (golden or otherwise), because in the end, all it takes is a few lines to make contact. Yes, it could be a long, arduous road, but once contact is made, a shift occurs and hopefully, a new day is born or at least a new consciousness triggered.

I think James Baldwin; the late, great American writer captured it best when he wrote:

"You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimetre, the way people look at reality, then, you can change it."

And that could be the hope keeping most writers going. Still hoping that; truly, one day, the pen will indeed be mightier than the sword and it would have all been worth it.