Writing Influencers

Recently I was entranced by a photo in an exhibition. The close up shot of a delicate leaf had a cloudy quality. My mind rifled through words to describe it, and ‘opaque’ jagged me out of the trance. It was a word that I had once used in a short piece that was critiqued by my first foray into a writing group.

One of the mainstays of the group was a retired teacher who had a sharp eye for errors and indulgent word use. It was beneficial to my continuing education as a writer to be exposed to that level of exactitude. But what caught in my mind was the challenge I received about using the word opaque in a piece. The work had been prepared as part of a monthly activity of writing up to 300 words on a theme. This could be prose, poetry, fictional or memoir. I had checked the definition of the word before I presented the piece and maintained that my word use was correct and as I intended. It was, after all, my work.

In the same group was a writer of many years who operated with a different level of intensity. She was encouraging and had visions of developing the group so it appealed to more people, with workshops and guest speakers and the like. I found her to be supportive and she read one of my early attempts at a short story, taking the time to do a line-by-line critique and talk me through various suggestions to strengthen the piece. When I later submitted a short story and received a prize in a competition, my mind flew straight to her as I felt that her encouragement and support had given me the confidence in my writing work.

There have been several people who I would consider to be influencers on my writing. They are not all writers – nor do they have to be – and sometimes it is as simple as someone providing encouragement or insight at the time that you need it.

Who has been influential in your creative output?

[Photo: prison entrance at Norfolk Island]

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Writing Influencers

  1. My sister is a very influential person on my writing. She has a “cringe” meter which I don’t seem to possess. Growing up with her, I never thought I’d be using her opinionated personality in such a way.
    Your post has also inspired me to enter regular writing competitions, especially one’s that offer critiquing for a higher entry fee. 🙂

  2. Good question! and quite hard to answer. Decades ago I started reading Patrick White novels and found him seeping into my writing. George Eliot is another I have great respect for and there is a quality of grave honesty there I wanted to emulate. But actual people? Anyone who’s read my work, thought about it and talked to me about it. And my English teachers at school…

    • Fair point – it is a broad question. I agree that your writing can be directly influenced by your reading at the time, and it is natural to try to emulate the work of those you admire. Influence can come from many sources. And your comment on English teachers has sent me on a meandering trip down memory lane 😊

  3. Influencers? Most recently, a guy at work. I wanted to put some work up on LinkedIn and I couldn’t get the tone right. I asked him for help because (a) he’s nice and I trust him; (b) he’s published on LinkedIn; (c) he’s qualified in communications; and (d) I’d seen him give great feedback to others. This list is making me realise how very vulnerable I felt about my work that I needed just the right person to see it.:) Anyway he spotted right away that I had no idea who my audience was and my pieces ended up being liked and shared by some of my ‘big bosses.’ Amazing!
    Other times it’s been the blogging community, people who comment are fabulous, fabulous, fabulous 🙂

    • Thanks Rowena for a couple of great examples of people of influence. I liked how you actively sought assistance for the Linked In profile with outstanding results – congratulations! And you are right about feedback on blog posts: the people who take the time to comment are fabulous. They can provide insight and assistance in all sorts of ways.

      Thank you for your comments 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s