Writing is undoubtedly one of the most difficult fields to venture into and that is why someone who has faced several dismissals of his or her articles and perhaps manuscripts will readily agree that writing is a field where many are called but few are chosen. Inspiring Writing in Art and Design: Taking a Line for a Write, a new book by Pat Francis and published by Intellect Books of the UK and the USA in 2009, is likely to not only teach writing skills but also inspire confidence in any one aspiring to write. BETHSHEBA ACHITSA writes.
“This is a practical book. It does not dwell too long on theories behind why something is, or how something works,” Dr Francis says in the introduction to the 296-page book that promises to tell a story that is playful, provocative, elusive, illusive, melancholic, delightful, irrational and logical.
Inspiring Writing in Art and Design: Taking a Line for a Write is split into three sections with the first delving into ideas and inspirations behind writing while the second part engages the reader through simple exercises that offer practical ideas of developing specific areas of writing; the final segment shows some examples that are meant to give the reader further ideas and reflections on process, principles and practice of writing.
The emphasis on starting many of the writing activities with issues of feeling and exploring two and three dimensional objects is to inspire thoughts and questions and to engage with the materiality of writing.
Writing is always about communication and therefore the writing process parallels the stages of working in many of the arts. The practice is a reflection and a constant adjustment backed by research and involves exploring points of view, rehearsal, focusing and refocusing.
Readers might feel rather disappointed as they read on as the book mainly serves as a reminder about the various language techniques that will make their writing more interesting. The analyses of the writing techniques may be appropriate to any writer but in a book that has promised to uplift the morale of many disgruntled writers it may have little impact as this is more of a reminder of what many have learnt at both lower and higher institutions of learning.
Perhaps what one needs to understand is what kind of writing is expected in art and design before knowing how to engage the reader. Faced with various tasks ranging from writing of reviews, reports, press releases and other writing it would have been essential for her to focus on what makes such writing more acceptable to the reader other than the language used.
Inspiring Writing in Art and Design has mainly focused on reminding readers what may already be known by most writers only that few take into account some of these points which makes their writing appear to boring and less appealing to editors and other readers who get to read such material.
In her introduction Dr Francis states that writing is a process backed up by research which perhaps is the best way of developing the content for any writing. She should have insisted on writers acquiring the necessary content for any given writing; which perhaps is the reason behind why many pieces of writing are rejected.
Irrespective of the more common factors that may seem to take too lightly the ideas on inspiring writing as put forward by Francis, her book is all the more important to anyone who is always ready to learn as the practical exercises that are found in the second segment make the book both educative and engaging.
In agreement with the author’s sentiments, it is true to note that though many books have been published to help with writing essays, improving writing skills and writing for college and university, most are geared for subjects rather than the creative arts. Therefore their advice is not always relevant to art and design practitioners. Most of these publications assume that the student is already confident in writing and therefore complicated; there are others which teach rules while the creative spirit withers.
All in all, Inspiring Writing in Art and Design: Taking a Line for a Write does not make one a confident writer though it targets those who fear writing as well as those looking for new approaches in their work. And as the writer promises to have another volume of the book it may be worth for her to discover the various difficulties that hinder most writers in order to come up with a book that will eventually develop the confidence of many writers. Nevertheless the book offers a list of other reference books which will assist the reader into more inspiring writing.