It’s practice, practice, practice

Interview with IWC student Inge Wallage

Inge Wallage is a passionate and engaging storyteller. While she is originally from the Netherlands and based in Amsterdam, she has lived in many places. But it is of London, where she lived for seven years and where her children were born, that she says her love for books and storytelling was reaffirmed. “If you believe in past lives,” she tells me, “I’ve lived in the UK in the past.”

She joined the Collective in 2019. Since completing her Level 1 workshops, Inge has taken Level 2 workshops with Sarah Carriger and Wende Crow well as lyric essay special courses with Karen Kao. Inge is currently at work with Laura Wetherington on a coaching project.


What keeps you coming back to the International Writers’ Collective?

It’s various. I have such a full on job, so taking a course works as a stick for me to write. What I absolutely adore is how the teachers treat everyone as a potential writer. Also the feeling of community, I’ve done so many different courses and you come back and meet some people you know. That’s really lovely.


Where does your inspiration come from, is it from personal experience?

I think with many writers including myself, everything you write is grounded in some kind of experience, conscious or unconscious. You experience a lot in life and if you’re a good observer, which is part of your writing process, then you take that along as well. I’m also a very engaged citizen and that influences my writing though sometimes I get annoyed at myself, I feel this little voice – don’t let there be a message.


What are your writing goals for the future?

When I started with the IWC the sole purpose for me was to publish a novel. I wanted to improve my skills and that’s worked tremendously because you can indeed be taught to be a writer. It’s practice, practice, practice. I remember in Level 1 you get poetry as well and I was totally surprised by how I loved it. I thought wow, maybe I want to do poetry, to improve the way I play with language in order for me to create that novel. In the poetry classes it always put me in a different world. I do too many things and maybe the downside to that is I find it hard to choose. I’ve got so many draft poems and a few draft essays, I’m going to focus for the next few months on what I already have and how I can improve them. My longer term goal, I will definitely be writing a novel at some point!


When you’re writing poetry you said that it takes you to another place. Is there a process you go through to get yourself into that space?

I can write everywhere, anywhere, anytime. I’ve been surprised by myself and still I am so happy about it. I write very well on a laptop because it just goes much faster but I always have a notebook with me so if I have some time I can write. I love pen to paper. I write mainly on the laptop but then I print and then I scribble. You can view it differently so it’s always part of my revision process.


Could you share your favorite thing you’ve read recently, or something that you always come back to? What do you love?

When I started with the Collective, at some point I couldn’t read anymore because I was analysing the shit out of a novel and I couldn’t enjoy it. Fortunately that has disappeared and I can now do both. I am in awe of David Grossman, an Israeli author, and his novel To the End of the Land. I have a top 3 and that is definitely in there. I love the work by André Brink, the South African author, whose work combines the political, the public, with the personal. My daughter gave me My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. That is fantastic, I am very smitten by her. And then, not to forget, Ocean Vuong. He’s a poet and he wrote this book On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It’s basically writing to his mum, absolutely amazing. What an author.

Author: Meghan Clarke

10 October 2022

1 responses on "It’s practice, practice, practice"

  1. Very incisive thoughts and analyses, will try to internalize for myself , writing like tai chi ,strong base , intent, and practice, Dan Smith

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