When I first became interested – or rather when I first became determined – to write a book, I signed up to several free mailing lists. These provided courses and encouragement to novice writers – such as myself, or so I thought. Over the course of the last year, I have lost count of the number of times I have hit ‘delete’ to clear the weekly supply of help. These posts seem to be aimed at some section of the writing community that wants to write a book, but doesn’t know how! With two now in print, though probably not up to Lee Child standard, I think I am over that first hurdle. Yet, for some reason, I don’t want to unsubscribe. Just receiving these e-mails acts as encouragement enough, reminding me to buckle down and start tapping those keys again.
I’ve just responded to one such e-mail which asked why I hadn’t signed up to an offered course, and gave a multiple-choice questionnaire; Did the topic not meet my requirement? Was it scheduled as a bad time for me? Would I prefer a different format – an online course or a book? Did the cost not seem worth it? Uncharacteristically, I actually responded because in doing so, I was answering these questions for my own purposes. In my response, I said that the questions had forced me to look again at why I write. And the answer I came up with is that it is a release. There’s a book by James Patterson wherein one of the characters is compiling a movie in his head. He sees his actions as being part of his film. I am not quite like that, but I do find myself thinking of plot lines and characters almost continually. A news report on television might throw up an idea. A picture of an interesting face, a view, anything can make me start compiling a scenario in my head.
Of course, the trick is to get these things down on paper (or into the computer). Usually, the resulting story in my mind is too short, or the idea is not suitable for extrapolation into a full-blown novel. In these cases I may content myself with a short story, but often they end up as just a couple of lines in my ‘Odds’ folder where they will probably stay until being dusted off and used in something larger.
Why did I write this blog entry? Well, in order to become a writer, one has to write. I think Steve King is reputed to have come up with that one, but really, it’s just common sense. One of the suggested ways of overcoming what some people call ‘’Writers Block’ is to just write about something – anything – just so you don’t give up! The worst thing is to feel all ideas have dried up and end up staring at an empty sheet – or computer screen – thinking there’s nothing to put down. There is, and this is proof!
Thanks for putting up with this chunk of self-administered therapy!