I’d like to start further back and explain Why I Wrote.
I’m the youngest of five children and, due to the age gap, the only child at home for most of the time I can remember. The rules in our house were complex: visitors, questions, ideas and curiosity were treated with anything between distaste and rage by one parent whilst the other, an avid reader, escaped into books and pretended that nothing was amiss. I guess that there are many, many children living in dysfunctional family situations, they all find a way through it and mine was creating stories in my head – characters and fictional worlds and sweeping adventures that ran for months.
I started actually writing some of these in my early teens and I soon realised that, in translating from imagination to page, the words were as critical as the story. The words had the power to convince. Both at school and at home I had always been quite uncomfortable about ‘showing myself up’, so I began to write out ideas, using it as a tool to help me practice and refine my thoughts. Suddenly I was able to explain myself with less confusion and greater conviction.
Writing gave me a voice and was a great friend to me through childhood and those reasons are still important.
So, Why I Write.
Let me be honest, I have days when I don’t want to, days when I think I’d rather do gardening, decorate the house or take a job where I don’t need to think quite so much and quite so carefully. But then I think about what I’m really expecting to gain from these other activities and I realise I’m invariably trying to find some quiet time so I can think about a new writing project. I could not stop writing; I cannot imagine coming to the end of the story ideas, or failing to find satisfaction in a good sentence or twist in a story.
I write because it’s the best tool I know for logical thought, for self- expression, for imagination and creativity, for developing ideas and for learning about myself and others. Each novel I write is just over 90,000 words long and, by the end, I still find it amazing that weaving together everyday words can turn imagination into a book.
The upside to writing comes with a downside too. There are days when the words won’t come, when the ideas are there but tangled or the looming deadline is just too daunting. Writing becomes an adversary and I have lost count of the times I have woken in the small hours feeling sick and with my heart pounding, scared that I can’t do it, or that it just won’t be good enough. At times like these I write because I am stubborn, I need to finish and, as an incentive, I promise myself I will NEVER put myself through it again.
Then I finish, tell myself it was not that tricky and start to plan the next one.
Perhaps I write because the ‘ups’ make the ‘downs’ worthwhile.
Perhaps words can be intoxicating.
Perhaps I’m a little bit addicted.