Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Most of us can read the writing on the wall

Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else.” Ivern Ball
Are you a budding novelist? What are you writing about? 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. 

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