Have you been thinking on putting pen to paper and just haven’t started yet because of something or the other that has just got in the way? I wanted to write for ages. I remember day dreaming about being a famous writer. I remember reading the “about the author” section in almost all novels I even so happened to glance at, and I used to think “wow, I want to do that.” I probably had these thoughts for about ten years. Not persistently mind, on and off randomly when I was in the back of a taxi or taking a flight somewhere. The opening lines of a story would just pop in to my mind, a figure appeared, a character I could develop and create and then I ran with it, unravelling a story in my mind. They always started with some kind of simple scene; a medicine bottle falling from a bathroom cabinet, tiny white pills scattering around her bare feet as her hand shook with fear. Or they related to my dreams creating characters I would never be in real life but somehow at the back of my mind admired ; a budding journalist with dreadlocks and wearing harem pants travelling around the world with nothing more than the bag on her back stumbles across …… I don’t know, something. I had dozens of stories that I started in my mind and never finished. I should have written all these tasty little morsels down, but I never did. I got distracted or worse still I distracted myself with something else more mundane assuming I couldn’t do it. Perhaps I wasn’t ready, maybe I was too young.
Writing is a hugely scary process. When you take that first sheet of white paper and start scribbling things down well it gets you thinking for a moment (yes I always like to start a book on a scrap of paper- generally I am somewhere random with no access to a computer when I start to write)- I was told that to write a novel you should write out a brief synopsis of where you want to go with your story, the plots, the sub plots all in about 10 points. So when I took this scrap of paper out and looked at the scary blankness of it I couldn’t think. I had writers block before I even started. This happened several times, which made me think “I cannot write, I am not a writer”. Destined to fail in this department I would abandon my scrap of paper or in some instances a newly purchased work book and feel utterly dejected.
But I was looking at it all wrong- I realised this about five years later- writing is not prescriptive- its not like an school essay where they tell you that you have to include a bit of this and a bit of that make it balance show each side blah blah blah! It is so much more than that and I discovered this sitting outside a sushi bar in Heathrow’s terminal three just two years ago.