That One Story

Written by Claudette Sutherland 

There are plenty of reasons to want to write.  And I am in complete support of all of them. You might want to have a go simply because someone once said, “You know, you should be a writer,” thereby tickling your ego enough to send you off with a nice new yellow legal pad.  If you should find yourself spending significant time with the process, say a couple of years or more I guarantee you will soon search out that friend and explain in painful detail how naïve they were.

A really good reason to want to write is to get paid for it which means you have to study the marketplace, something that wishful artists seldom take into consideration.  Still, one of two things will happen. You will find the “market” staggeringly incomprehensible because the speed at which the technology changes rivals man’s flight to the moon.  Or you might find a niche you had never imagined, perhaps something specialized like “golf” or “water fowl” and begin to make a little headway, learn how to meet a deadline—one of the most motivating and pragmatic aspects of writing.  Not everything is a novel, a film or inspirational and life changing. Think about when you wander through a bookstore or a cruise a newsstand, (and now, the Internet) someone writes all those other things.  You could write some of those other things.

You could also want to write just to get something off your chest. That might not mean you will find a job writing, but you might sleep better at night. I caution that writing is not therapy at the same time realizing that it can be therapeutic and that’s not a bad thing. You never know, if you keep pushing that particular envelope and pay attention to craft while you are doing it, you might end up in fiction.

What you do have, what everyone has, is that one story. Something based on personal experience or something fired by your imagination. It has probably been looking over your shoulder, tugging at your consciousness. Real or fiction, you can find that one story and pay your respects for it has been waiting for you to notice for a very long time and will not let you down.  It is core to more stories and you couldn’t ask for a better starting place, a more authentic, doable or welcoming place to begin. It’s kind of like coming home.

Claudette Sutherland is a creative writing mentor. This post was taken from her website, www.gotoclaudette.com. In Semester 6 of 2015, Claudette will be coming to Singapore to conduct a creative writing masterclass at the Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity. She also holds 1-on-1 consultations for writers looking for professional guidance and critique on their writing projects.

More information about her masterclass can be found under our ‘Programmes’ page.
To sign up for a private consultation with Claudette, email claudettesutherland@gmail.com

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