The Art of Writing – Reclaiming Your Craft | Elsie Road Magazine

How To Embrace The Art of Writing

The problem with writing is that it’s utilitarian. We write every day—a text message to a friend, an email to a coworker, a grocery list, an essay. When writing is your art, but also your communication, the former is easily overwhelmed by the latter. So how do you embrace the art of writing?

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. Absorbing language was an act of exploration, pure enjoyment in the art of writing. I have rosy memories of summer holidays where mornings were spent biking to the library and afternoons whiled away in a corner surrounded by books. In high school I carried a notebook with me everywhere. I wrote nonsensical stories, dramatic scenes and meandering thoughts. I wrote without necessity—purely for the joy of expression. When I went to university words became something to pile upon each other to reach a required word count. In magazine school I became a self-conscious writer. Was I doing it right? Was I killing off enough darlings? Then I graduated and got sick. I stopped writing for a little while. When I started to get better writing became a healing process. A few years and a few jobs later and now I write for a living. Underneath the weight of proposals, tweets, taglines and web copy, writing became just another task to complete. A pesky to-do list item that required increased concentration. Then I enrolled in an online writing class.

My biggest takeaway from Ann Swindell’s Writing With Grace class—besides the insider publishing information and the amazing community—is the awakening of something I hadn’t realized I’d let fall dormant. That the delicate layering of words could be something playful, something joyful. That there’s always something new to learn; ways to hone my craft, to fine tune my skills. Writing is my art. I pulled out my copy of Reading Like A Writer. I looked forward to my next day at the office. I was excited by each opportunity to knit sentences together word by word, to rearrange the pieces and find the missing bits of punctuation.

So to all my fellow writers out there: don’t be afraid to reclaim the art of writing. Proudly hold onto the title of writer and let a little joy infuse each thing you write. Insert some playfulness into that Instagram caption. Take ten minutes to journal or follow a writing prompt. Allow yourself space to work on your craft. Write simply for the delight of writing.

Are you a writer? How do you make room for writing in your everyday?


Want to invest in your writing? Check out our free course The Creative Nonfiction Primer. We dive into 5 categories—literary journalism, memoir, profile, essay, and travel + food writing—and share some of our favourite reads and writing prompts.

The Creative Nonfiction Primer | A Creative Nonfiction Writing Course by Elsie Road

Writing As Art: Reclaiming Your Craft | Elsie Road Magazine


    1. I love everything about this. I’ve always wanted to be able to say “I’m a writer”, but someone never feel like I can claim that unless I have a published novel or something. More and more though, I’m willing to say those words.
      Twitter kills the joy of writing for me in the same way some paper assignments in school did, with the character or word count hanging over my head – I avoid it as much as possible 🙂 Having a job that pays me to write is amazing to me, yet I still crave the outlet of writing for no reason other than to enjoy it. For me, keeping the art in writing means keeping a personal writing space (a blog and a notebook), always having a fresh notebook handy, having pens I love (and actually using pen and paper regularly), and making time to read and so be reminded of the power of writing.

      1. Love that. Such good ways to keep the art alive 🙂
        I always struggle with claiming those kind of titles–lately it’s been entrepreneur and designer. All I’m saying is that it’s something I love to do and aspire to learn. And that’s enough.

    1. I love writing–always have. I have to write to feel complete, because it is who I am, a way for me to express compressed feelings. I take in the articles, blogs and journals for knowledge on the art of it all. It is my escape from reality, my own secure world. No publications, just pure enjoyment of the art.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *