Rachel is very brave; she has asked me to write a guest blog for her website. She is also a very talented and professional lady. She created the superb cover for my book "Tail of the Tigress - Views on the Road to Gender Equality" plus the graphics for my websites, my various social media and for other promotional material. She also designed the interior of my book and thus, amongst other things too numerous to mention, killed-off all my 'widows and orphans'. These excellent designs have been lauded by all those who have seen them - from members of the public to fellow professionals from the world of publishing and the print & broadcast media.
Writing, for the consumption of others, is an interesting occupation. Such writing can be a way of deliberately exploring, experiencing, describing and then recording our thoughts - those very thoughts which would, otherwise, be merely fleeting, transient moments in time. To my way of thinking, writing down your thoughts, as opposed to just experiencing them, is a bit like the difference between enjoying exploring a foreign country as you travel through it's highways and byways at leisure - as compared to flying over it's vast landscape viewing only fleeting glimpses of what might be seen below whilst heading for the final destination as fast as possible.
Thinking about things and then writing them down is a cathartic, private, process. It affords us the opportunity to create and organise our thoughts time and time again – until their rationale is clear. It is not until we decide that our work is 'fit for human consumption' that we put ourselves in a rather more vulnerable position. Whereas open debate, by it's very nature, is potentially confrontational. People can say ill-considered things in the heat of the moment or as a reaction to another's stimulus and, in their response, can cause unintended offence to the listener. Most writers are quiet, reflective souls who avoid confrontation.
Writing gives us the opportunity to see things in an everlasting time-frame and to consider every minute detail; and, in that process, to include or exclude at will. Like a painter, you can create the illusion of a reality which does not, and doubtless never could, exist. Subtle nuances of speech and body language; reading between the lines and inserting into that space sub-plots which were never there. We writers listen and watch and sense - and, in the process of doing so, add to our ever-growing cache of life's important little details.
Being alone with our personal thoughts and observations is not the same thing as being a lonely soul. Our solitude should not be seen as some form of punishment - like being 'sent to Coventry' - it is a precious gift. Most writers tend to be introverts; people who are comfortable with solitude and who can be disturbed by unwarranted external distractions. They tend to be empathetic; they can imagine themselves in another person's situation, in their predicament. Social 'small talk' can appear shallow and inconsequential to them - unless, of course, they are hiding behind a mask of faux frivolity. They tend to lean towards more meaningful, more deep conversations; their speech is slower, more considered.
There is a positive correlation between a tendency towards introversion and the ability to write. The nearer an individual is to the introvert end of the spectrum the more likely they are to internalise - thus their potential to put their thoughts into the written word rather than to 'speak out' and thus, as they might believe, to be seen as being 'opinionated'. They are frequently thought of by others to be lacking in self-confidence, even reclusive by nature; when, in truth, they have just learned the subtle art of discrimination.
Speaking gives to thoughts a more tangible, more valued existence and in the process of moving those thoughts into words we, as individuals, have the chance to filter-out our unwanted mental detritus. Conversation can then become an opportunity for considered opinion to be given voice. Meanwhile, writing things down can be the chance to record those same thoughts for another person to consider at their leisure, to take away and to read time and time again. The writer, as opposed to the orator, has the opportunity to get each and every word right. Thus, to be a good writer it helps to be observant, mindful, a listener. Listen more than you talk, the less you speak the more you can say; the best conversationalist is always a good listener. Our writing, whether for pleasure or for profit, can reflect this.