I am a frustrated fiction writer. Not very unusual, most of us feel we have a book inside us. My problem is I know I can write, I just lack “oomph” to sit down and put my ideas on paper.
Way back in the 1970’s, I won a short story competition run by the local paper. My story was published, Mum cut it out and would show anyone who stood still long enough for her to delve into her cavernous handbag (one of those “organiser” types, with multiple pockets and compartments), she could never find anything in a hurry! She was proud of me, thrilled that I had won and even more thrilled that she finally had school run “bragging rights”.
I would tell people that when I grew up, I was going to be a writer. Adults would nod encouragingly, before telling me that once I was married there wouldn’t be time for writing. Better to train for a “real” job, write as a hobby when the children were in bed. I was rebellious of course, my enthusiasm fuelled by interviews with women writers who despite their growing families would publish beautifully crafted novels and transport me to other worlds. One day, I would be a writer…
I continued to enter (and win) story competitions all through my teens. At university I wrote short sketches and monologues for the University theatre club. Then, work, family, living life got in the way and writing took a back seat to earning a living, putting food on the table, school runs and any number of other excuses. Eventually I fell into feature writing, mostly short pieces for magazines and newspapers. I contributed to several books and began to think the stories I made up in my head would stay there. Characters living their lives in my imagination as I walked or washed dishes.
Last month I published another crochet book, one that I’m rather pleased with. It looks beautiful (thanks to the talents of a wonderful book designer and thoughtful photographer. But, I still don’t consider myself a writer. I am still filled with self doubt and a feeling that one day I shall be discovered as a fraud and the shelf full of books with my name on the cover will be pulped*. When asked, I describe myself as a designer and writer, that seems to sum up what I do. I always underplay the writer part though and I’m never sure why.
This year I have promised myself I shall write more. Perhaps not with publication in mind, but just for pleasure. For the joy of seeing those people that live inside my imagination brought to life in printed words. I’ve set myself a target of 500 words every morning.
Any genre, any subject. Just words on a page…
*Pulping a book is stripping a book of its cover and having the torn book pulped and recycled in the plant. The severed cover is sent back to the publishing house as evidence that the book has been destroyed or discarded or recycled into paper or cardboard products.