Friday, February 19, 2010

Dawn Copeman, Editor of Writing World

Today, I would like to share a wonderful editorial by Dawn Copeman. Dawn is the editor of the informative, free newsletter published by Writing World ( I hope you are as inspired by Dawn's words as I was.

Feeling Guilty and Inspired

I watched the Richard Dimbleby Lecture on television recently. This
is an annual lecture given by a prominent politician or business
figure. It is a lecture. No fancy graphics, no multi-media
effects; just a man or woman, a lectern, a small audience and the

This year the lecture was given by Sir Terry Pratchett, the first
novelist ever to have been given the honour of presenting the
lecture; except it wasn't. Terry Pratchett sat on the stage to the
right of the lectern but his actual speech was delivered by the
actor Tony Robinson.

The reason for this was that due to Alzheimer's disease, Pratchett
can no longer read. He cannot discern letters at all. It seems
that it was frequent mistakes at the keyboard that first led him to
discover that he had Alzheimer's.

So an author can no longer read or discern letters, but has this
stopped him from doing what he wants? No. He has 'written' two
books since his diagnosis as well as this hour-long lecture and
countless articles and speeches. Having found that he couldn't
physically write anymore, he didn't give up, as many of us would
have done. No, he just found a way around the problem to allow him
to continue to do what he loves to do: to write.

He now writes all his books, articles and speeches using voice
recognition software. He has found a way around what would be to
most of us an insurmountable problem. He didn't allow his
inability to read or write letters get in the way of his writing.

He had a wonderful excuse not to write, but he loves his writing so
much that he just couldn't give in. He worked around it and
carries on writing to this day.

His lecture inspired me but it also made me feel profoundly guilty.
How many petty little things do I allow to get in the way of my
writing? "Oh, I only have twenty minutes free, that's not enough
time, I might as well do something else."

How many times have I said, "I'm too tired right now, I won't be
able to think clearly, I'll leave it to tomorrow"?

The next time I decide that it is too impractical to write or I'm
too tired or ill to write, I am going to think of Terry Pratchett
and remind myself that these are just excuses; a real writer writes
no matter what.

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor

Dawn, thank you for allowing me to share these words.

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