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10 Writing Touchstones


No matter how many novels, plays, instruction manuals or poems you have on your writing CV, there are lessons about writing – some technical, others psychological – that benefit from regular rediscovery.

I teach creative writing from pre-school to post-retirement. Irrespective of age, background or experience, certain shared attitudes to our writing and ourselves regularly come to the surface. Most common is the wish to ‘get it right’, even though rationally we know that with any creative work there is unlikely to be a single, definitive ‘right answer’.

My catchphrase with writing and acting students is ‘there’s no such thing as a wrong answer’. However, there certainly are such things as good habits; concepts and qualities to which we can hold and test our writing, to challenge and reassure ourselves when needed.

This collection of blogs I have put together for Writers & Artists offers ten ‘Touchstones’ for writing. Some are more technical than others (clarity, structure, rhythm); some more psychological (confidence, voice and message, state of readiness for inspiration). The Touchstones work for all genres. Each post includes a writing tip, exercise and example so you can experiment for yourself and see them in action.

Hope you enjoy!


Writing Touchstones 1: Clarity


Writing Touchstones 2: Inspiration


Writing Touchstones 3: Structure


Writing Touchstones 4: Time


Writing Touchstones 5: Space


Writing Touchstones 6: Perspective


Writing Touchstones 7: Place


Writing Touchstones 8: Levels


Writing Touchstones 9: Observation


Writing Touchstones 10: Identity


Rachel Knightley is a freelance writer, director and teacher. She runs Green Ink Writers’ Gym, resident at Waterstones Piccadilly, for writers of all genres and levels of experience. As Green Ink Theatre, she produces an annual Sponsored Write and new writing showcase, fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. She teaches Creative Writing, Speech and Drama from home and in theatres, schools and universities. Visit her website here.