“Writing liberates the spirit, reading inspires it.”
Kiwi author George Bryant is on a mission – to make the world a better place through his writing.
From being his school’s worst essay writer to eventually becoming an established author with 39 books and booklets to his name, George is unstoppable. The most published Christian author in New Zealand, he is also a publisher and a founding director of Daystar Books. As well as working on his latest book, he can currently be found mentoring new writers and teaching at writing seminars around New Zealand.
SARAH RICHARDS interviews George Bryant about his productive and inspiring writing career.
Q. How did you become a writer and how did you develop as a writer?
A. I’ve learnt on the way. I am a quick learner, read a lot, apply myself and concentrate well.
I gradually developed my writing through my teaching career, having to teach essays to students, although my university studies also helped. Then I started writing material for booklets. I discovered one of the key paths to powerful writing is reading a diverse range of good literature, both classical and modern.
The secret was to think for myself rather than just regurgitate what others were saying. My brain started to function better as I read more widely and attempted to evaluate different viewpoints. So I am really self-trained.
Q. What has been your greatest writing achievement?
A. Often the first book you write is the best. The Widening Gap (about poverty in New Zealand) was the first of its type. It broke new ground. People picked it up and said, ‘Heh, he’s on to something’. But every book is different and each book has its own moments.
Q. How do you decide what to write about? Where do you get your ideas?
A. From everywhere. To write well you need to read widely. Ideas come from reading works of a similar type to what you’re thinking of writing. You have to take your own slant on things. You need to think creatively.
Ideas come from the media, movies, conversations… The thing is to be alert to what’s going on around you. Personality also has something to do with it. When I first began writing seriously I wanted to see my books on shop bookshelves. My desire now is to simply challenge people to think.
Q. Now you’re mentoring the next generation. How many writers do you think you have influenced?
A. Hundreds. At the moment, individually, there are four people I mentor weekly outside of the writing seminars. I am mentoring all the time through Facebook and other avenues . At seminars I give out free copies of My Writing Journey: Hot Tips From The Files (DayStar Books).
Q. What general advice would you give aspiring writers starting out?
A. If you have something on your mind, write about it. Don’t hesitate. Get out your laptop and start writing.
Q. What do you consider to be the most important writing tip you ever received?
A. Stick at it. Perseverance is a key attribute because you can’t get a good book out in five minutes. You’ve got to keep at it! There will be many revisions and considerable pruning. A determination to succeed and a willingness to grab every writing opportunity is vital.
Q. How does your faith impact your writing?
A. I try and write from a Christian worldview, so I write wholesome stuff that gives hope and inspires people. That’s my aim, to build people up. When I am fired up about an issue the words start tumbling out. The trigger might be a social injustice or concern for the suffering.
Writing to reach out and make a difference underpins everything George does. His laptop is his outlet and his books are his ‘agents of change’ which, by the way, is the title of his forthcoming book.
SARAH RICHARDS is a Wellington-based writer currently working as a communications specialist for a Christian charity. She is also a trained counsellor and mother to teenagers. Dog walking, biking, jogging and going to church are some of the activities she enjoys.
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