How did you start writing?

How did you start writing?

It’s a pretty standard question when you’ve just written your magnum opus, patted it on the back and sent it out to make its way in the world.
You may be quite justified in replying, ‘At school.‘ but let’s face it that may come across as a bit trite and the request for the information into the reason why you have behaved in such an obviously crazy manner is usually genuinely asked.
And so, when the subject is raised, I normally bite my tongue and answer, ‘Oh I’ve always written,‘ as if that explains everything.

It doesn’t.

The truth, as it is so often, can be quite painful.
I have genuinely ‘always written.
But – and here’s the rub – not seriously.
Not with a goal of being a published ‘author.
Surely I could never aspire to be anyone so grand.
I’d written rhymes about work colleagues for a laugh. Indeed, so amusing were these ditties that I was once banned from the works canteen – for life. Something to do with slicing the gravy as I recall.
I scribbled a few short stories, entered them for competitions convinced that the arrival of the winners acknowledgement would be only a matter of time and, once that time had expired, railed against the judges for their obvious lack of taste.
So yes, I’d always written.
And I’d always wished that I could write without other things getting in the way, the mundane day to day chores, the job, the bare necessities of life – if I may nick the lyric of a song.
Until one day those bare necessities turned around and gave me a kick.
Not subtly, but a swift hard kick right where it hurts.

My wife of thirty four years died.
She collapsed on Christmas Day and by Boxing Day her brief visit to this mortal coil was over.
Two weeks later my father lost his battle with cancer and joined her.

Numb.

That’s a good way to put it.
Not entirely accurate, but as good as any to sum up something that cannot adequately be described.
And sometimes, once life has given you that kick it considers itself to be the gift that just likes to keep on giving.
Eight months later I had a heart attack.
And a quadruple bypass.
And a collapsed lung.
And an epiphany.
Here I am at fifty eight, what am I meant to do with my life?

I stopped work.
I wrote.
Eight months later my first book was published.
O.k. self published if you want to be precise, not traditionally so, but let’s not get precious about that trifling difference. I had just had a lesson that hanging around for an agent, a publisher, or any sort of opportunity was not a luxury I might allow myself to take. Time is after all linear, we are not allowed to get off for a coffee and a quick puff on a Camel, however politically incorrect that may be.

dognapped
‘DOGNAPPED!’ is a children’s book. It’s in the final of The People’s Book Prize 2017 here in the U.K. You will vote for it come May won’t you? Thanks.

It’s about my dog Misty and her mates, cast adrift on a canal boat with a reluctant puppy. Apparently adults love it as much as the kids, but I won’t tell on you when you start giggling, so don’t worry about that.

 

 

cover-mock-up-copy

‘IN THE DOGHOUSE!’ is due for release before Christmas – and a cracking little stocking filler it will be.

‘ON THE DOG WALK!’ is due next May – purposely in time to remind you to vote for ‘DOGNAPPED!’

There are plans for audio books for all three.
There’s a stage play to be performed next year – a political satire.
There’s a period radio drama if anyone would like to produce it.
There’s a comedy sci-fi novel to have the finishing touches applied.                               There’s also a blog to attend to – in case you hadn’t noticed.

Three months ago I married a wonderful lady.
There’s so much more to come now I’ve learnt to kick life back.

Pardon?
Oh! How did I start writing?
I guess I’ve always written.

How about you?

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7 thoughts on “How did you start writing?

  1. I’m always writing in my head. Just started putting it in electronic form a year ago. Wish I had more time to spend on it as I also have the full time job and family to tend to. I’m very sorry for your loss. I’m glad you got something out of it, however hard the lesson. I guess those are the ones we learn the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi, I just saw your post on Dream Big Dream Often. I am sorry for your loss and in awe of your strength to follow your writing wherever it may take you. I agree that “when did you start writing” is an elusive question. I have been “writing” long letters to penpals, creating ‘magazines’, etc.. since I was about 10 years old. I loved school because I excelled at academic writing and have even been published in an academic journal (highlight of grad school for me). I flounder a bit in my writing without the *purpose* academe provides. I am still just trying to find who I am as a writer and what I really enjoy writing about. Thanks for asking such a great question and congratulations on your published books and future plans with them!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so sorry for your losses – and the terrible kick in the butt it took to follow your dreams while you still had time. Congratulations – on the book and your upcoming nuptials, of course, but primarily for your success in finding your courage.

    My little Shih Tzu has just *begun* his blogging journey: two behind him and one posting tomorrow to tell the world about what it’s like to live with somebody with a bodascious sleep disorder (my blog’s N-24 Awareness post for this year). His answer to “when” is this: the minute my mom let me at the computer!

    Thanks for deciding to follow us, by the way – that’s how I made my way over here. I’ll be back.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

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