I wrote a blog post last week and scrapped it a day later. I often do that. It just did not make sense the day after I took my fingers to the keys. That is how quickly things can degenerate. That is also how changeable a writer or indeed any human being can be. Something can seem feasible and workable one day, and totally the opposite only hours later. No word written down is wasted, however, for in having written it down in the first place you are allowing yourself to breathe and release. I suppose with that particular article, I was trying to reach some resolution – some understanding – but it did not come to me with absolute clarity that day. Don’t know why.
I was trying to get my head around why I actually write in the first place. Sometimes, when looking at the royalty sheet for the previous quarter, one does wonder. Growing up, those of us with aspirations to become a writer perhaps see the “published” route as an amazing, far-off dream to aspire to. We imagine the ££££s, the fame, the distinguished accolades we might receive. What we do not see is the amount of work it takes to actually write a novel. In my former profession, I saw how many processes just a small box of thirty words went through. Nobody sees the real effort apart from those behind the scenes. Anyone can pull apart a novel or a film, that’s easy, but putting it together is fucking hard. In actual fact, the life of a writer is lonely, difficult, wrought and totally and utterly un-gla-mor-ous. Opposite of tote amazeballs and sometimes whack. There is no right or wrong. There are no strict guidelines. There will be people who just do not get you, but there might also be those for whom your work uplifts, inspires and encourages. Even changes their lives, perhaps. Maybe being so honest is a passion-killer, but this is what it is really like to be a writer. It hurts, it sucks, but hell… realising a vision is incredible. I still maintain that my vision of these books was so strong that I couldn’t not write. Somehow, 370,000 words did not end up in the bin. I really don’t know how they survived, honestly!! Sometimes, I don’t!!
Even now I sit back against the cushions of the sofa I’m sat typing on, revelling in the achievement of three books done, I still wonder why I write. Why, why, why? For in writing, you are putting yourself out there to be criticised, you are opening yourself up to hurt and yada yada yada…
I write because I truly love it. It really is a love/hate relationship I have with my work. I despise it one minute, crave it the next. You cannot be any good, I suppose, unless you can critique yourself first and foremost. You have to learn to love imperfection and realise sometimes, you can only do so much. Also, when I write, I live the book, see the book, feel the book in my heart, veins and lungs. As an eight-year-old teaching herself to read a book, I struggled. I battled my natural urge to disbelieve. I overcame that, and when I did, I saw the images, not the words. I interpreted the plots and characters in my own way and was terribly captured, and have been ever since. It is a dream to write fiction and be paid for it because it has only one source and that is, your imagination. It’s far too good to be true. The process is a whirlwind experience and now it is a privilege to be able to say, “I wrote a trilogy.” The actual emotions involved in that ‒ I may never be able to put into words.
What you do not realise is how much you will grow to love your work, how much you think of it as a member of the family almost. I firmly believe that for writing to be real or provocative, it has to come from that place inside you, deep down, where you really try to thrash out the fundamental questions of life, honestly. Taking yourself there and back is difficult. But as I have said to many a fellow writer or reader, it is the experience. It is always that. It is the experience I spent my energy on and invested in ‒ quite freely. It is what we all spend our real energies on – those moments we can look back on and get all shivery about; the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; the sickness in your stomach at what you had that is now lost or past. “All we have is time, if we are lucky enough.” (BTB). I say, I got up off my arse and wrote. It was hard, for someone who loathes attention of any kind, good or bad. So many writers I speak to always say, “I’d do it under a pseudonym”, possibly because of the fear of criticism or whatever. I was taken out of my comfort zone and forced to reassess. But when I look back, wow… I learnt so much. And then I come back to the heading of this article again and remember, There are never any solid answers, only questions, discussion and debate. Keep debating people. Never stop evolving. Write.