By John Simmons
Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself a question. It can be any question. What’s certain is that you will answer it by using words.
Let’s assume your question goes beyond the everyday ‘What’s for breakfast?’. Perhaps it’s a question about yourself as a person and about your own life. ‘Why do I do what I do?’ It’s a question we as writers should ask frequently of our ourselves, of our own individual purpose, much as we might question the purpose of the brands or organisations that we deal with.” Otherwise we are doing things out of habit rather than conviction.
A writer needs to write from conviction. I write because I love writing, there’s no other time when I feel quite as alive as when I’m writing. If I’m lucky, if the words are flowing, time passes almost unnoticed. I find it strange that we can be most in love with life when we’re least aware of time – yet working life revolves around limitations set by time. Is this why we often rebel against the routine of ‘work’ and, as writers, achieve our best work outside those limitations? We become rebels. Dark Angels come from a rebellion against the standard, the formulaic in life and work, and we use words as instruments of rebellion. Because, as we often say on our courses, we see no reason for writing to be boring.
This comes from a belief in the power of words. Words tap into our emotions, memories and imaginations, if they are used well. They appear on the page and the screen ready for further shaping. It’s a process that gives me joy, even exhilaration; that stirs me enough to bring tears to my eyes at times. If so, I know that the chances are that the reader will connect with those feelings and share them. The reader will feel engaged and curious because the writer is; will smile from a shared insight; will well up at the connection to a personal feeling that is also universal. Only connect.