With National Writing Day on the 23rd of June, the UK is set to celebrate the power of writing creatively – with people of all ages and abilities writing for fun and self-expression.
With the lockdowns having inspired a resurgence in young people’s creative writing, in turn supporting their wellbeing, this day will be a great opportunity to put words on a page and get the inspiration flowing.
Here, two British authors discuss their profession, the power of writing and what it means to them:
Charlotte Valentine – Author of ‘The Cerberus Effect’ and ‘The Third Door’ (https://charlottevalentinewriter.com/) – “I guess my desire to write stems from my love of reading. As a child, I loved words and stories and read everything I could get my hands on.
“The first stories I read were Fairytales- in my opinion still some of the most powerful stories ever written. And all with an underlying message – which is another reason I write. I’ve always been fascinated by people, our behaviours and the issues we face. Writing is a way to explore those. Fiction and its interplay between character and plot is, for me, an especially satisfying way to explore some of the complex issues we all face in today’s world. That’s why I write contemporary fiction.
“Writing has changed my life in many ways – especially since I decided to make it my full-time career. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s taught me a lot about motivation and self-discipline. Delegating the writing of a book is not an option – it begins and ends with the author’s story vision and ideas and the determination to express that story through words. Tough at times, with lots of false starts but a great feeling when you write something you’re proud of.
“Writing has also given me a profile, a platform and a voice on social media to discuss issues and ideas I believe important. And it has brought me into contact with a book-loving community – readers and writers – that I’m delighted to be a part of. Authors are an exceptionally mutually supportive group of people with a common interest – we all want to encourage readers to read as much as possible!
“I think writing’s important because books are important. They can entertain, make us think, transport us to new places and allow us to look at life through a different lens. I hope my books and stories achieve some of those things. On National Writing Day I hope many new writers will decide to start writing – and speak to readers through their lens and their voice. Everybody has a story to tell!”
Soulla Christodoulou – Author of ‘Broken Pieces of Tomorrow’ and ‘The Summer Will Come’ (http://soulla-author.com/) – “Writing saved me – saved me from burning out and saved me from losing my mind. Seven years into my teaching career my mother fell ill and coupled with huge changes in the education landscape I felt suffocated and afraid. My safe haven at home became a claustrophobic and never-ending list of hospital appointments and calls in the middle of the night. A chance advert for a local writing class saved me. On a whim, I called the number and booked that same night. I got the last place on the course and with it got some me time; me time away from home and away from school.
“Writing is a recognised and popular form of therapy for so many people; there’s journalling, keeping a diary, writing poetry and, of course, creating stories. Writing is accessible to all. A piece of paper and a pen and you can write. Storytelling holds society together. It connects people and cultures and generations and countries. It connects my mind with my heart and it is through my stories that I can experiment with ideas and push the boundaries of my comfort zone.
“I wrote my first novel, Broken Pieces of Tomorrow, by joining a creative writing class which gave me an outlet to process my thoughts and feelings. I wrote without the fear of being judged, of failing, of not fitting in. My life’s path is my biggest inspiration. My ideas can come from a conversation, a long-forgotten memory, an observation, a news article and even, as with my third novel, a connection across social media.
“During the first 2020 lockdown, writing kept me motivated at a time when I was disconnected from my family and friends. It was felt keenly by so many of us, coupled with the debilitating impact of the pandemic it was overwhelmingly scary. Being able to write gave me a routine and an escape from the onslaught of Covid-19 news alerts. I looked forward to the weekly writing workshop emails and used these to build a story; the opening chapter is directly written from one of their weekly prompts.
“So, in a nutshell, writing is a lifeline for children, teenagers and adults, young and old. Writing connects and teaches and educates. It allows us time to reflect and process our thoughts and feelings. It also gives us somewhere safe to go when the reality is too painful. Who hasn’t escaped in the pages of a book during a lockdown? Let’s celebrate writers and readers from around the world.”