The Accidental Writer

pencil-17808_150After months of constant research, heavy-duty thinking, and a fair amount of procrastination (I’ve got too much housework, the cat’s sick, my son has his exams, I don’t feel well, etc) I finally started writing my second book.
In case you’re wondering, the first one’s not published. Honesty dictates I confess that writing was never something I aspired to do. Reading has always been my thing. Until I started having health problems I’d been a Library Assistant for seven years. It wasn’t until my mother passed away very suddenly in between two of my surgeries that I started writing. I had a dream (I know, I know, so cheesy) that so captured me I had to write it down. The next day I decided to write it out as a complete scene. Before I knew it I had pieces of paper and printouts littering my living room, I was buying pencils in bulk and every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment was taken over with my ideas or the voices of my characters whispering to me. I’d started writing a book, almost by accident. I became the Accidental Writer.

While I was writing the first one I genuinely thought it was genius, the next best thing in young adult fiction. I was totally caught up in it, immersed in it, living in it. I finished that book eighteen months ago and aside from entering it in a writing competition in which it didn’t place, I’ve done nothing with it. I kept telling myself it was because I wasn’t confident enough, experienced enough, it wasn’t ready, it needed better editing. Now, with a little distance between me and my creation, I can honestly say, “The book isn’t right.”

Does that then mean, by default, that it’s wrong?

Absolutely not! That book, and the many processes, mistakes and emotions I went through to write it, was my school. Before I started writing that book I had no idea how to write. Much of my time was spent bumping blindly into one wall of ignorance after the next. But with each bump I built up a mental blueprint of the parameters that facilitate my writing.

This time around I’ve started out with intent. I have a clear idea of where the story is going and the path I want to take to get there. My characters have been marinating and expanding from two- to three-dimensional people for almost two years. They’ve been alive and confined in my mind for so long that they’ve started banging to be let out. Now I have no choice but to start writing. And I love that feeling, the feeling of the story inside, confined, desperate to burst out and become something real.

So now my pencils are sharp, my paper is waiting and my cast of characters are forming a disorderly queue to take to the stage. The question now is can I do them, and my story, justice? Can I write the story well enough? I guess there’s only one way to find out.

I hope you’ll follow my (and my characters) journey.


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