Some time ago someone read a snippet of a short story that stemmed from a decade of thinking about writing, but not actually making any inroads. In a previous life, existence was based on forging a career in scientific research with publications in various journals including Nature. All very interesting, but that is the personal driving force of advancing knowledge and understanding. Then children arrived. Life altering stuff indeed. The old ways were put aside to become the primary carer. A new “challenge” and probably even more rewarding. But what does one do with the time and feelings of isolation and growing despair that the world is moving on and leaving you behind?
Clearly one path is to think and contemplate then drop into an angst filled pit of despair. Another is to get a hobby. Enter the internet and an on-line gaming fraternity of high adventure. None of your Xbox or Playstation modern warfare. This was before them; although with boys growing up it would, of course, be folly not to “beta test” games to ensure content is suitable. That was my excuse at any rate and much time was lost to assorted free roaming high adventure. I digress, before top end games consoles there was a site on the State of Insanity (SOI; the name fitted the mindset) with a text based set of rooms that required speedy thinking and vocabulary to rise to fame…or infamy as the case may be. This was where folk began to suggest word craft might be something to pursue.
Many years later a friend was exposed to a short story; something I was not overconfident with – an issue I am told is not uncommon with writers be they best sellers, freelance or rubbish like me. This friend suggested that story be grown into something more. Sceptical, more time passed; lots of it in fact. Self esteem can be a motivating or entirely destructive. I am certain this is a more common trait amongst stay at home parents than is admitted. Add in other issues, that belong somewhere else, and the downward slide gets greased until daylight at the end of the tunnel seems so very far away.
The germ festered a while until someone else said the same thing. I had an epiphany; if you don’t try how will you know? Others possible saw it as something a shade more obvious; not quite as big a revelation as my brain concluded. Feedback comprised of comments such as
“You stupid (insert expletive of choice) idiot (or synonym of choice). Why didn’t you do this years ago?”
It is a fair point. All I can say is the characters didn’t come forwards until the eureka moment. After that they wouldn’t shut up. Rattling off the first draft of a novel came relatively easily; providing one doesn’t dwell on the decade thinking about it! I found the experience more like being a biographer rather than a writer – I reserve the use of author to those wordsmiths with evidence of craft. The tale was narrated to me with more than one character telling me that they were most definitely not doing that or simply no that’s not what I would do. I do believe one even went off in a sulk for nearly a week at one point.
First draft was completed a few weeks ago and there it now sits waiting for review and ordering into chapters. Being electronic it will not gather dust so even that cannot act as reminder to stop procrastinating and get on with it.
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