Notebooks and the Writing Process

My short story ‘Ritual’ has appeared in Issue 4 of The South Circular, a quarterly e-journal of short stories edited and published in Dublin by Aoife Walsh. Aoife wrote this line in her thoughtful Editor’s Note: ‘ Every day, we send ourselves out to the world and every day, we risk not receiving a similar gift in return.’

The South Circular Issue 4

But, we must of course continue to take the risk first of all of writing and then follow through by taking the further risk of  sending ourselves and our writing out into the world. Maybe now, in this strange nether world between Christmas & New Year, it’s time for me to dive back into notebooks and find those bits and pieces that with just another bit of polish, just that extra zing of writing energy, would be as complete as I can make them and be released out into the world.


And not forgetting to look through my grandly titled ‘Ideas Notebook’

Ideas Notebook

with its stunning and appropriate lotus flower cover, for who knows what beauty might arise out of the muddle of my mind. This is where I throw down those weird, illogical bits and pieces that might, just might, grow into something if I let them compost within the pages for just that right amount of time. It’s a mysterious process this writing.


The writer Maggie Gee, in her essay ‘Five Days’, says that ‘writing … is a way of understanding one’s life and communicating it to others who will listen; and a focus of concentrated “craft”work, something that has to be enacted in the detail of every sentence written. It is a process of becoming, and becoming more free.’ You can read Maggie’s essay and other thought-provoking essays about writing and the imagination in The Gist, a book compiled in recognition of the work of John Moat, founder of The Arvon Foundation,, an organisation and a man I much admire from this side of the Irish Sea. I am very likely to write more about this in the coming months.

If you would like to experience the writing process with me I will be leading weekly writing workshops in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary and Tramore, Co. Waterford starting in mid-January. See details here. Let’s fill more notebooks together!

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