My journey in writing

January 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm

When I was three years old I decided I wanted to be an actress.

When I was four I decided I wanted to be a writer.

When I was five I decided I wanted to be a hairdresser. I think it’s a good thing I gave that one up!

Even though the desire to do people’s hair faded quickly, the desire both to act and write stayed with me. I spent most of my daylight hours making up stories in my head and acting them out, always for no other reason than because it was fun.

I can remember the first book I ever wrote. I was eight years old and I called it Goldie the Pony. I cut out little ‘book’ sized pages, stapled them together, and drew a picture for the cover. The book was only about eight pages long, and didn’t have much of a story, but I was very excited that I had put a book together all by myself.

However, as I became a teenager, the idea of becoming a professional writer never occurred to me. My father is a writer. I knew it wasn’t exactly a money spinner! I had no interest in journalism at that stage; that kind of writing didn’t thrill me. I still wanted to be an actress, but I didn’t exactly have the looks, or anything that could be called confidence. So that too, became a dream in my head, never a reality.

Writing continued to be something that I did, but only to amuse myself. It was just for fun that I sat down and tried to novelise the pilot episode of Knight Rider when I was twelve. I didn’t get very far with that one, especially since I had to write it out by hand!

Once I learned to type, things became a little easier. I would madly tap away at my typewriter, novelising episodes of another TV show, Beauty and the Beast. Then I began on one of my favourite movies at the time: Ladyhawke. I novelised it three times, getting better each time.

I had no thought in my head that I was training myself to write. I was simply having fun. Writing and making up stories was more fun than the retail and office jobs I had. I did try to write some original stories as well, but I didn’t get very far.

I began to write some book reviews for the newspaper my employer published. The editor was frequently too rushed to do it all himself so I helped out a little here and there.

At the encouragement of some people at work I started writing original stories again, and actually finished a couple of them! I was proud of that. Then they suggested I try a course in journalism. I decided to try it. It was a good thing I did, too, because the editor of my employer’s newspaper resigned not long after, and I was asked to step in as editor.

I worked in that position for seven years. However, while I was doing it, I stopped writing my own stories. It’s not fun to work at writing all day (especially if you’re writing about something dull!) and then go home and keep doing it. So I stopped writing down my stories. I didn’t stop making them up; that would be like trying to stop breathing.

When I left that position the creative urge flared again. But instead of writing a novel, I wrote a screenplay! That was fun, but hard work, as it’s a completely different type of writing. Nothing has come of my screenplay yet, but we will see …

Then I had the idea for The Heir. The story grabbed hold of me straight away, and I wrote frantically for a few months, sharing it with some friends for feedback. With their encouragement, I tried to get it published, and Wombat Books have agreed to do so, much to my excitement!

Now that I look back on my life, I can see how all the different forms of writing I did helped me hone my abilities. I think the most important thing in writing is experience. I also think there’s always room for improvement. The Heir is the latest part of my journey, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I go from here!


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