Passionate About Writing, Carolann Copland | Magazine | Writing & Me

Carolann Copland

Six years ago I discovered writing and I’ve never been bored since.

The buzz that I get from sweeping my fingers over the keyboard is better than any adrenaline kick that I could get from anything else. Hanging out with other writers is just the most amazing past time ever. Seeing my inspiration turn into words on the page and ultimately a story, gives me a high like nothing else I’ve ever achieved. Yes. I’m passionate about writing.

I was a late starter. When I left university at the age of thirty-four, Dr. Osborne left me with the words ‘Don’t forget to write!’ ringing in my ears. I didn’t forget; but having more children, moving back to Ireland and starting a new career in teaching took up so much of my time. When I was forty my mother handed me a booklet for creative writing classes and said, ‘I thought you wanted to write?’ And I said the words, ‘I do.’ And I’ve been having this affair with my laptop ever since. It’s okay though; my husband knows about us and actively encourages us.

When people said, ‘Are you going to give up teaching and write fulltime?’ I laughed. Hah. Bills. That dirty word that stands between me and creativity. And it’s frustrating isn’t it? Wanting to write. Promising yourself you will but always only scraping the bottom of the barrel of the writing world. I get up at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. at weekends so I get to write every day. Non-writers would use this as evidence to prove my insanity but those of you reading this will understand my need.

Knowing that there is nothing as inspiring as hearing from other writers and listening to others criticize your scribbles, I look forward to my nights with my two different writing groups with anticipation and excitement. When you get the right kind of group together, the time just flies by as we are moved or amused by each other’s writing.

I attend writing courses, writer’s workshops, writing retreats, writer’s festivals, book launches, author readings and anything that remotely hints of motivation to write. I recently met an author at a workshop who came over to me and said, ‘Now, where do we know each other from?’ I should have made something up but I just went red and mumbled something about following writers around wherever they went. She let go of my hands and wandered off shaking her head. I’m sure she was thinking of how she would remove stalkers from future workshops.

For three years I’ve been running writing clubs for children. At first I did it as an extra to fund my writing habit. But eventually it became part of my writing life and I couldn’t imagine my week now without my fix from the enthusiasm and inspiration that the kids provide. Once they get over the fact that their handwriting isn’t the big issue and not to worry about spelling, they are always full of ideas and have no inhibitions. I learn more from them than from any book on writing. It’s a shame that teachers don’t have more time to work on creative writing in the classroom. It is one of the arts that are sorely neglected in school. We need creativity for everything in life. The younger we start, the better we are.

Recently I was writing in a house in the Dublin Hills looking out on the city and its bay. It was a normal Irish day with the weather going between sun, rain, cloud, wind and back to sun again. But no matter what the weather, every time I ran out of inspiration and was filled with the view and the setting I thought, ‘if you could just bottle this and share it.’ Then it came to me. You can. You can run a writer’s retreat from this house. You can expand the children’s clubs. You can run adult workshops. You can run workshops in schools. You’re a teacher and a writer and you can make this happen. I whispered my idea to a friend, who spoke about it animatedly to another friend, who shouted it from the rooftops. And so… Carousel Creates was born. Where I get to be passionate about writing as a way of life…

About the author

(c) Carolann Copland May 2012

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