On Writing

Cobwebs on the grass with dew drops - selective focus, copy space

GrownUps columnist Kay Rayner has many years of experience as a writer. If you have every been inspired to write something, but are not sure where to start, read on. Kay offers insights into her own writing process. Should you have any specific questions for her, please ask them in the comments below.


Cobwebs on the grass with dew drops - selective focus, copy space

As a young child I had a very vivid imagination.  I spent a lot of time in my grandparent’s garden, and when I went to visit them I would always make a beeline for the small orchard to look for little bugs in the trees.  I especially got excited looking into cobwebs growing on trees, and I would see tiny little spiders running around inside.  These little spiders took on almost human qualities and I imagined them doing all sorts of things like we do.

All my life my imagination has taken over and I often drift off into my own world.  I guess it’s a form of escape but it’s nice to breakout from a busy life sometimes and just let your imagination go free.  This basically is where the idea for my children’s books, ‘The Pipsies’ came from.

Writing the books was so much fun.  I could see the furry little creatures I wrote about running around in the garden, making their little towns and their homes.  I became one of them and loved creating new adventures for them.  

One of my favourite characters was a large tree that was growing in the play centre next door to my home.  I named him ‘Mr Oscar – king of the trees’.  He even seemed to have a face on him which was etched into the bark.  One day as I was having breakfast I looked out the window and to my horror workmen were cutting Mr Oscar down.  Honestly I sat there and bawled.  I think my family thought I had flipped my lid completely.  After they saw what was happening they too felt sad.  My son-in-law Jonathon drew many illustrations of Mr Oscar so I do have those memories in my books.

I imagine most writers come up with an idea for a story and they have a beginning middle and ending all planned out.  For me I generally just sit at the computer until something comes to me.  I take it from there and as I type a story is born.

I usually write a piece in one or two sessions and I keep writing until I have my first draft.  I do not punctuate or spell check on my first draft.

I like to write when the house is quiet and I have no interruptions.  My writing flows from my thoughts and takes shape along the way.

I love writing it gives me a sense of peace, a way to relax from the real world and often it gives me a chance to live in days gone by.  I love writing period stories and also children’s stories.

For me the important thing is to not over think your writing – just let it flow, that way you will get more enjoyment from it.

My writing is quite visual and I really like to be able to see and for my readers to be able to see what is taking place in my story.

I used to jot ideas down in preparation for writing, but now I just wait for an idea to come to me and from there it will take its own natural course.

If you want to give it a go do so, you have nothing to lose and you may actually really enjoy it.  It’s relaxing, enjoyable and it is something that is unique to you.  A part of who you are will be reflected in your writing, so do it, give it a go.  It really is worth it.

By Kay Rayner. Read more here.