Thursday, 13 January 2011

Getting to the real story

I love writing about other people. I find their lives fascinating. Just walk down the street and take a look at the diversity of people you see. There will be many different faces, some old, some young, some will look happy, sad, worried, harassed. I often wonder who the people I pass are and where they are going, what their lives are like. On the face of it, they might be very different people to what you can imagine. They might be projecting their 'public' face. The face they are comfortable in letting other people see. But bubbling under the surface they could be a different kettle of fish altogether.That's why I love going out and finding new people to interview and write about. I haven't done much of this recently and I've got itchy feet so, no doubt, I'll be out there again with my trusty digital voice recorder, notebook and pen again soon.

It struck me, though, recently, have I been looking in the right places for subject matter for my articles? I tend to go for people and groups that I have a personal interest in: the local amateur dramatic group because I've seen some of their plays, they rehearse just up the road from me and I know a couple of their members. The archery group because I like to watch archery and had the opportunity, locally, to go and watch them. Local authors Carole Anne Carr and Phyllis Blakemore because, again, I know them both well and I'm interested in their work as writers. The Morris dancers because I like Morris dancing and they are a great group of people.

Why not go further afield and look into groups/people who do things that don't interest me personally but would make great articles? I think that as writers we should be versatile, and  I think I've been playing it a little bit safe. I thought that if I had a real interest in the groups and activities I was writing about this would show through in my writing, and make the piece come alive and be more interesting to the editor and reader. Maybe it does, but that shouldn't prevent me from looking for people/groups that do things I either haven't heard of or experienced before. I think it does writers good to spread their wings and talk to people from all walks of life. I love learning about things and as a writer I have the opportunity to meet such lovely and interesting people and learn about a wide range of subjects. It is the person's/group's passion for what they do that shines through in my articles. A good writer/Interviewer will be able to coax that passion out and use words that convey that passion in the right way in the article.

So go off road with your writing for a while. Look for a group/person/subject you haven't considered writing about before and just do it. Don't be afraid to experiment. You might not come out with what you expected, but that's the beauty of creativity and writing, you never know where it might lead you. Poke around a bit and get a feel for the stories that might be out there. Look deeper than the surface layer. See what you come up with.

Happy digging!
Julie xx


  1. Where is my shovel? I can't wait to start digging! A great post Julie, yes it's good to get out of the comfort zone sometimes. I really want to try harder this year.

  2. Quick, find your shovel, Di! There's loads to be dug out! I'm sure we'll both do well this year - just got to keep trying.

    See you tomorrow!

    Julie xx