We asked Umoja Writing Competition 2015 winner Kirsten Leggett to contribute to our blog. It’s another opportunity for our entrants to showcase their writing and be involved in the wider writing and volunteering community.
How our winner writes
I write to understand. It is as simple as that and it is a form of internal processing for me. I love to write, I always have, but my creative writing really ramped up a notch when I started with daily ten minute writing using word prompts. Just a few words, five at the most, and I would wait for the first sentence to form but without too much thought. Once I start to write, I do not stop for ten minutes and I pay little attention to punctuation – just let the words flow. I try not to think about it too much and let it come from the heart.
I continued with this practice for about 6 months straight and now I write this way several times a week. It still works, every time, and I never know how each piece will end. The ending is always the most surprising bit! Sometimes I write beyond ten minutes, other times a little less, but the end result is always surprising and from these exercises stories are often born. A friend once asked me where I draw my inspiration from. I explained that I never set out to write a story, that words and inspiration generally find me when I allow myself the time to be still. A story or words for a poem can “arrive” at any time, while on a walk, driving in the car, or sitting and enjoying a pot of tea in my garden, but always in moments of stillness.
I have learnt that as humans we can do the most amazing things with words. I think we are born to listen to and tell stories and there is a storyteller deep within each and every one of us.
Kirsten lives and writes in Tasmania. A writer of short stories and poetry, she writes for both enjoyment and for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. “The Tiny Teacher” was Kirsten’s first short story. Most recent published writing includes “Interloper” (101 words.org) and “Pear Infused with Jasmine” (Flash Fiction Magazine).