Shagufta K: No Longer Is Writing A Lonely Business

Ahead of Public Address: The Soapbox Tour, ensemble artist Shagufta K talks to us about the importance of collaborative creative environments…

When I returned to writing after taking some maternity leave from my full time job, writing and motherhood seemedimage[3] completely compatible. But after a few months of writing in isolation, at unsociable breastfeeding hours, in between baby naps and on Friday nights. It occurred to me that this idea that writers can write anywhere and everywhere is a myth. Yes there are times when inspiration hits you and you have that urge to put pen to paper then and there, but this is rare. Writing for me is part of a routine, it should be treated no different to a full time job, it needs that attention, allocated time, dedication and most importantly deadlines.

As I implemented this practice into my writing routine, I realised this still was not enough. Writers need human interaction, I needed that creative input from others.

No longer can writers be found in forgotten basements towered over a typewriter, or in dusty attics perched over desks and windowsills. Writers are beginning to step out and work with other writers, actors, illustrators and creatives in a more organised and cross disciplinary way. Not just to create work, but just to be around the buzzing energy of being part of a larger creative process and environment.

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Photo credit: Suzi Corker Photography

This is something I have thrown myself into over this last year, and it has proved invaluable. The Apples and Snakes ‘Public Address: Soap Box‘ tour in particular has been an incredible opportunity in providing me with this experience. I had always thought the best way to learn how to write was to read the works of writers that I admired, but of course working with an experienced writer/ performer has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my writing career.

Working directly with writers such as playwright Naylah Ahmed, Tanika Gupta, Tanya Ronda and at Apples and Snakes with Hannah Silva has made me rethink my writing process, technique, and how I deliver my work as a performer.

It reminds me of a time when I belonged to the Bristol Black Writers group at Kuumba, as a writer of colour having access to other writers with similar experiences and challenges, you find support and encouragement that would not be found else where.

The Apples and Snakes experience has encouraged me to seek out more collaborative creative environments such as ‘Gal-Dem‘ and ‘Bristol Woman: Women of Words‘ magazine, writer’s retreats, and writer’s groups. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who can enhance your writing experience, can feed into your writing technique and encourage you when you come face to face with that dreaded writers block.

So I guess I would say go out there and be a part of it, learn from the valuable experience of others and write!

Find out more about #PublicAddress: The Soapbox Tour here. Follow Shagufta’s work on her website: www.bristolwoman.wordpress.com and www.gal-dem.com