My First Love – Writing

Heart flower in Iowa

I was about eight years old, in bed with a bad cold, reading Charlotte’s Web. I’d read many, many books before this one, in fact I’d been a book addict for over a year. But turning these pages, enthralled, I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write stories that would make people laugh, cry and compulsively turn the pages to discover what happened next. I fell in love with the idea of being a writer that day, and it’s a dream that has never let go, even though life has insisted on taking me in several conflicting directions over the years. Awful first chapters have gathered dust in drawers, slightly better short stories have found their hopeful way to the desks of editors, usually to be returned with an encouraging little note or a ‘thanks, but no thanks.’

Over the years, I learned that writing is actually quite hard and thought it might be better to take up knitting instead. But I preferred reading over knitting, and every time I read a good book, my old dream would stubbornly reassert itself. And one day, when I had three very small children, I began writing short stories. With a gulp, I joined an online writing forum and began submitting my writing for feedback. I read craft articles and looked at writer’s websites, trying to learn everything I could. I began entering competitions – I even won a few. You can find one of them here – I am still very proud of Walter. Years passed and I began writing confession stories. I was actually being paid. Of course I wasn’t a proper writer – proper writers earned a ton of dosh, did book signings, were on best seller lists, had thousands of brilliant reviews on Amazon . . . And then one day I admitted wistfully to my now sweetheart, “I have always wanted to be a writer” and he said “how great you got to be what you always wanted to be.”

That statement woke me up and made me see myself differently. I was a writer after all, even if I did scribble in longhand at the kitchen table while the children played. Even if I was earning very little money. Even if I was completely devoid of glamour. And so I did what writers did – I continued to write even on the days when the words didn’t seem to be there, and I continued to submit, even when I knew there was an excellent chance of a polite and crushing rejection. I write because there is nothing else quite as thrilling or satisfying for me in the world. Reading was finding myself in someone else’s world, writing was losing myself in my own – it was my first love. I became completely addicted

When did you fall in love with writing??

February 10th 2014 009


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