My name is Maire Fisher and I’ve been working with words for over 20 years, as an editor, running creative writing workshops for children and adults, and, of course, writing. I always loved English at school, and have been an avid reader all my life. My mother was a librarian in the small town of Bulawayo and I read my way through the children’s library there. I take a book with me wherever I go; when my husband and I sailed around the world many years ago, the most important thing about getting to land for me wasn’t stocking up with fresh fruit and veggies, it was finding a boat with good books to swap!
I can’t imagine a world without good stories to read. So when FunDza asked me to be part of its ‘Growing a Community of Readers’ programme I was excited, delighted and a little nervous. Excited about writing a story, delighted to get the chance to work with a young writer and help fuel the reading frenzy on Fundza’s mobi network, and nervous about reading the comments readers make on the stories as they’re released, chapter by chapter.
It’s hard to identify a highlight of the programme. From meeting Jean Paul, to sitting and working out a story (Who knew we’d come up with a ghost story? But once Jean Paul said, ‘I like stories that happen in the dark,’ there it was!), to sending versions of our stories back and forth to each other, to getting the final word that our story was great and ready to go up on the site – working collaboratively with a talented young writer has been a brilliant experience from beginning to end. I loved meeting a dedicated writer at the beginning of his writing career, knowing that someday I’d be able to say that I worked with him!
My advice to young writers?
Whatever you do, keep writing. Use writing prompts to get you going, freewrite your way into that zone where anything can happen and your characters can surprise, horrify and thrill you. Don’t make your writing like a precious object to be stored away and handled carefully. Make it an everyday part of your life. Treat your writing like a craft, produce words – many words – and then hone and polish your writing. Turn up at the page ready to write and ready to see what will happen. And never, ever, stop reading. Open your mind to new voices, new styles, new ideas. There are so many worlds waiting to be written, and so many words waiting to be used.