A lot of the work that needed to be done was in the way I viewed it. I came into fiction writing through business writing. I came into business writing as a practical service to others, who didn’t have the facility with words I seemed to take for granted.
Long before even the business writing began, I displayed on my desk a piece of an advert, I think from one of the writing courses. PUBLISHED WRITER it said. I added in biro, I AM A. It sat looking at me each day and still I did nothing about it. I share this because this internal viewing of our wish to write, our need to write is critical. Just as if you want to run a marathon you need to run as would be writers we need to write.
Whatever activity speaks to us from some gut level, we have to honour it. Accept it and acknowledge that without beginning, we’re not being true to ourselves. It’s a tricky subject and I waited for years, not believing I could do anything so reckless as claim to be a writer. Being a librarian worked wonders to widen my horizons. Meeting writers in my work impressed me. It also depressed me because to me they seemed like ‘others’. Other people showed more skill, aptitude, knowledge. Many of them wrote factual books on subjects in which they were acknowledged experts. I didn’t feel myself expert in anything.
With fiction I had a different set of excuses. No inspiration; no ability to create characters; no feeling for dialogue. And yet in my past I’d told silly stories to a younger cousin. Created a story out of a Bible parable which had made people smile and tell me they’d enjoyed it. Loved conversation.
I know I’m not alone in this problem. I’ve met many over the years in different settings who tell me, ‘I write but only for myself.’ Fair enough but it’s also fear that stops anyone being prepared to go further and share what they write.
We’re given certain skills and abilities at birth. It can take a lifetime to own to those. Without the owning up and the honouring of what we’ve been given, we’re short changing ourselves… and others. How many times have we learned from others? Shouldn't we let others learn from us by sharing?