In a previous life, existence involved forging a career in scientific research with publications in various journals including Nature. All very interesting, but that is the personal driving force of advancing knowledge and understanding. When children arrived the old ways were put aside to become the primary carer. A new “challenge” and probably even more rewarding. But what does one do with the time and feelings of isolation and growing despair that the world is moving on and leaving you behind?
One path is to overthink, contemplate and then drop into an angst filled pit of despair. Another is to get a hobby. Enter the internet and an on-line gaming fraternity of high adventure. None of your Xbox or Playstation modern warfare. This was before them. Although with boys growing up it would, of course, be folly not to “beta test” games to ensure content is suitable.
I digress, before top end games consoles a site existed on the State of Insanity (SOI – the name fitted the mindset) with a text based MMO that required speedy thinking and vocabulary to rise to fame or, indeed, infamy as the case may be. This was where folk began to suggest word craft might be something to pursue.
Some years later a friend read a short story. Something I was not overconfident with. An issue, I am told, that is not uncommon amongst writers be they best sellers, freelance or rubbish like me. This friend suggested that story be grown into something more.
Sceptical, more time passed. Lots of it in fact. Self esteem can be either motivating or destructive. I am certain this is a more common trait amongst stay at home parents than is admitted. Add in other issues, that belong somewhere else, and the downward slide gets greased until daylight at the end of the tunnel seems so very far away.
The germ festered a while until someone else said the same thing. I had an epiphany. If you don’t try how will you know? Others possibly saw it as something a shade more obvious. Not quite as big a revelation as my brain concluded. Feedback comprised of comments such as;
“You stupid (insert expletive of choice) idiot (or synonym of choice). Why didn’t you do this years ago?”
It is a fair point. All I can say is the characters didn’t come forwards until the eureka moment. After that they wouldn’t shut up. Rattling off the first draft of a novel came relatively easily. Providing one doesn’t dwell on the decade thinking about it.
I found the experience more like being a biographer rather than a writer, reserving the use of “author” to those wordsmiths with evidence of craft. The tale was narrated to me with more than one character telling me that they were most definitely not doing that or simply no that’s not what I would do. I do believe one even went off in a sulk for nearly a week at one point.
Several novels are now complete. Some edited and awaiting decisions on how to publish. Being electronic they will not gather dust, so even that cannot act as reminder to stop procrastinating and get on with it.
So why am I here chewing the fat with anyone who cares to look? Simple really, avoids the redraft…. Not really, well maybe a bit. I actually took a few on-line short courses on all manner of writing and in them were blogs that budding writers could test their skills in a forum offering support and constructive criticism. I think that was probably more helpful than I ever imagined possible.
Total strangers looking at samples of text. Funny thing is, being in the same boat, they were all very friendly and welcoming. It gave me the idea / confidence to look at a blog and think why not make it a place anyone can drop in, comment, trial ideas and so on. Everyone has to start somewhere and if a blog is where people that are in the place I was in find the light at the end of the tunnel drawing closer then all well and good. Kudos to them.
If some of them become famous then at least I can say I knew them once upon a time too. Although signed book copies would be appreciated, with maybe a personal dedication thrown in for good measure.
Everyone is encouraged to enter, new writers, old writers, young writers, those wanting to write, hints, tips and publishers knowhow. Equal opportunities means famous authors are welcome, although they will make me feel inadequate again.