The Solace of Words



Tiny black ants scurrying across crisp white paper. Magical, whimsical, serious, contemplative words. I love them. They are my happy place. To read and to write, to give myself to words, is a process intrinsically linked to my own wellbeing and happiness. What would I be if I was unable to read or write? How grateful I am for the gift of literacy that I’ve been given; one which has opened the world to me.


Sitting there, as you are, on the other side of your screen, so often a substitute for paper these days, you must understand the feeling I am referring to? Storytelling is an integral part of being human. The need to hear them and to tell our own. Are we born storytellers? Readers? Writers? Is word-smithing something we all have an innate ability to do, but some simply lack the confidence to do so?


The Almanac readers and writers are an assortment of ages and genders, with varied passions and expertise, all brought together to tell stories. This hotchpotch of people who love to read and write have created a community of appreciation, reflection and support. A place of making meaning and making memories; free to explore life in all its forms.


In this time of planetary chaos and confusion, to let myself sink into the words of a story or poem, or to capture my own on a page, has become a solace for my sore heart and balm for my tired mind. Does it matter if the words that I write aren’t read? Aren’t liked? Do I write for myself or do I write for the other?


Each writer has their own journey with words, they are the one who must care most about them. Relying too much on the validation of others is a dangerous business. If you are constantly waiting for the approval of readers, you will never pick up the pen; often the most difficult part of writing. I understand that many write straight onto a computer, keys clicking in a symphony of creative composition, but I cannot bring myself to draft onto a computer. Instead, every word is drafted by hand. The weight of the pen in my hand, the movement of it over paper, is reassuring.


Do writers carry out their creative endeavours because of a burning desire to have someone read it, or is it a desperate need to just say something? I won’t lie, there is a pleasure and a satisfaction gained from putting words into the wild. To be tasted and held by others. Who is to say what words touch the heart or mind of another, even if they were only my own ruminations on nothing in particular.


Truman Capote is quoted as saying, “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” It’s true. Some days when you pick up that pen to write, the words click together in harmony. Other times they sound like the droning of a second grade recorder player in your ear. But still we write on.


Is writing worthwhile only if you create something extraordinary, or is the brilliance in writing the ordinary? As a reader and a writer, I try and find words that map a way for me to navigate through this world that I find myself in. Words that comfort and inspire, which fuel my enthusiasm for life.


I stumbled across this community of Almanac readers and writers. What a privilege to have a place to explore these words of mine, which jumble and jostle in my mind. It’s a  place to read the beautiful expressions of others. The poem. The humour. The tips for my elusive quaddie. Whatever it might be that day, it’s clear that the words have been written with care and purpose. They are a comfort.


What a pleasure it is to share these words with you.




About Nicole Kelly

Is a teacher, mother, writer and all-round lover of words!


  1. We’re very glad you found us Nicole.

    In sport, I’ve always felt, however misguided, that the cricket field was my MCG, the local golf course was my St Andrews and the Saturday stableford comp was my British Open.

    And I’ve always believed that chefs cook, and gardeners garden and writers write.

    I think writers producing words ‘on writing’ are always interesting. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Just wonderful to read this on a Monday morning, Nicole.
    Thanks so much.
    I am always very interested in learning about the different ways and methods in which writers write.

    “the gift of literacy”
    Yes, Nicole, it is a gift – which many of us can and do take for granted.

    “Relying too much on the validation of others is a dangerous business”. Again, so true.

  3. Crafted with simple yet profound sincerity from the depths of your soul…

    and by the miracle of being on the other side of that screen,

    I feel a life giving power from your words that is beyond explanation yet totally understandable.
    Thank you Nicole.

  4. Thanks for this Nicole. I agree with your observations and really enjoyed the Truman Capote reference to inner music. So true.

    I’ve been wrestling with a professional creative challenge for a while now and your piece may have just turned the key to a solution! Especial thanks for this.

  5. Bertolt Brecht said, “all artforms are in the service of the greatest of all arts: the art of living.”

    The ability, the pleasure to write, with of course being read, is one of life’s pleasures. The Almanac for many moons has allowed me that pleasure. In these dystopian times it’s nice to unravel your mind putting finger to keyboard,having some of yourself shared by your fellows in humanity.To think, write, and produce material/information we can share, enjoy, learn from is an activity you can only enjoy as a human.

    Writing is putting our thoughts somewhere tangible so to close with Brecht, “thinking is one of the great pleasures of the human race.”


  6. Nicole Kelly says

    Thank you for the kind comments! I appreciate the word-lovers of the Almanac! A self-indulgent piece really, but it is always nice just to get those words out.

    Mickey, I’m glad there is a key to a solution floating about you now. They always come eventually, don’t they!

    John, I think you may be right – because a gardener I am not!

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Nicole, the writing process fascinates me as how differently writers go about it.

    Glad you stumbled across this community of readers and writers. The Almanac is a special place.

  8. Peter Fuller says

    Nicole, Thank you. Your words in this reflection and other pieces you have posted here resonate powerfully for me and articulate better than I can my chaotic thoughts. The Almanac is a precious community, the more so for me as I’ve departed the formal world of work with its communal engagements. We of the Almanac tribe are enriched by the interaction for which words are the medium. Words are powerful, yours especially so. I hope and I’m sure that you’ll keep them coming.

  9. Nicole excellent yes you sum up writing beautifully sometimes it flows easily others it’s a huge struggle thank you

  10. Hi Nicole
    You ask, Do I write for myself or do I write for the other? Interesting question. For me it is definitely the former. I’m sure it is the same for any form of artistic expression. There is no choice really; when the moment arrives, we must follow that creative urge, and how it is interpreted and/or accepted is irrelevant.
    However, appreciation is wonderful, and a necessary boost to our emotional well being.
    So, thank you for your words of wisdom!

  11. DBalassone says

    Inspirational words Nicole! Thank you.

    Another piece that resonates with me about this very subject is “Why I Write” by George Orwell.

  12. Interesting Nicole…your point that you prefer to still draft by hand. I have found with access to the keyboard, i feel the words can flow so much quicker, and I feel less intimidated by the writing process. At school, I struggled with some forms of writing (not the creative stuff though, I loved making up stories on paper)…especially, in Year 11 and 12, to the point where I did not hand in any of the due essays at all. Which, of course meant my future was looking really bleak:) My English teacher took me aside, told me to get an exercise book and to just write, write, write…thoughts, ideas and to thread them along the thematic lines related to the novels; but no order required, just write, he said. It was simply a diary, but it let the thoughts or ideas come out; an escape valve.
    I eventually handed in said essays after what felt like interminable amounts of scribble and ‘rough copies’. I feel like the digital version of writing is so much easier and fluid and less intimidating.
    Great topic

  13. Kate’s comment above prompted me to re-read this, for the first time since it went up. I allowed myself the time to run the sentences at rhythm, letting the inner music come to the fore.

    I fall somewhere in between your experience Nicole and Kate’s when it comes to pen or screen; I find myself drifting evermore towards the screen for most endeavours, with the exception of lyrics…and then I love the light quick touch that a well-loved biro offers over some weighty inky tool.

    My thanks too for sharing your words with us.

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