I don't find it easy to come up with something that I haven't already heard or read about Susannah, and that's because all of it has always rung the bells of recognition within me. Honest, authentic, funny, straight-forward, poignant and blah-di-blah, these things and then some are all true. If you are familiar with her work, you may feel like she crops up everywhere, no longer confined to her site, but springing up on everyone else's too. And if you're not familiar, here is the opportunity to get to know Susannah The Writer a little bit more.
When I first blog-hopped to her online home last year, I knew nothing of her but within ten minutes I had signed up for the newsletter, so that I would know when the Unravelling e-course would open for registration. It worked out as a magical, serendipitous click for me, as I joined the online group by a nose, started to show my face a little bit more and, crash boom bang, I consolidated wild ideas I had been toying with for ages into what you see here today. But Susannah ain't just about e-courses: she runs fabulous interviews (My Creative Life), is a Polaroid resource and addict and is contributing to a book about it, always offers peeks into her life and how she grows, and has been writing on her site for over four years, which means you've got lots and lots of beautiful posts to enjoy. But before you go, see what she has to say about her writing life. Thanks Sus!
What is your idea of perfect writing?
Transporting, truthful and inspiring prose that has rhythm and poetry without being overly florid.
What is your greatest writing fear?
That I’ll lose my eyesight and won’t be able to see the words in my notebook.
What do you consider your greatest writing achievement?
Writing articles for the Guardian newspaper was definitely a highlight of my journalism career - that was the newspaper I’d wanted to write for while studying for my degree - but what I’m doing now feels so much more worthwhile. Every time I receive an email from someone who’s been touched and helped by the words on my blog I feel so honoured to be able to put words out into the world. We always write for ourselves, but if that helps someone else then that is the greatest achievement of all. However, some days just getting words on paper can feel like an achievement.
What is the writing tendency you most deplore in yourself?
I’m getting better at holding back the waffle; years of working as a journalist helped me practice the art of brevity. But I get tired of seeing the word “I” in everything I write, even though I write non-fiction and blog.
Which living writer do you most admire?
There are four: Jeanette Winterson, Michael Ondaatje, Sharon Olds and Carol Ann Duffy.
What is your greatest writing extravagance?
A Mac laptop and desktop. On any given day I will dance between the two, using Dropbox.com to store my files in the ether.
What is the quality you most admire in somebody else's writing?
Brevity. Making a powerful point with the least possible words. Making every word count and deleting the throat-clearing from the beginning of the piece.
What or who is your greatest writing love?
My diary. It is my constant companion and most faithful confidante. For the last seven years I’ve been using large ruled Moleskine notebooks – I love the continuity.
When and where were you happiest with your writing?
Today, answering these questions while sat on a train, with 37 years of life experience behind me and the opportunity to do something useful with it.
If you could change a thing about your writing, what would it be?
I don’t really want to change anything, but I do want to keep improving!
What is the most marked characteristic of your writing?
Who are your writing heroes?
How do you hope your writing will be referred to as long after you've gone?
Honest. Inspiring. Timeless.
What is your writing motto?
If in doubt, leave it out.