Sunday, 1 May 2016

An introduction or Why am I here?

Life is a constant stream of changes, but no matter what life threw at me, from about age 9 onwards, writing has been a part of me. It was at that time that I wrote The Adventures of Bernie the Dog - self-illustrated and all! - and started dreaming the dream of one day walking into a book shop and finding a pile of books with my name on it.

That dream is not a reality - yet - but writing has grown ever more important to me. As a teenager I discovered fan fiction, and though I was rather suspicious of it at first, I quickly caught the bug. I was very fortunate in having been part of an incredibly supportive fandom full of talented writers, many with much more experience than I had. And most of them native English speakers, who gently and patiently nudged me into the right direction, when I muddled up my words or messed up my idioms -- “she bedded him on the couch” is, apparently, not the same as “she put him to bed” on selfsame couch :p.

Years passed, my skill grew (at least that's what I hope), and so did my desire to write my own novel. My life has always been full of stories. Either I read them in books, saw them in movies or I made them up myself. I was about 20 when I realised I wanted to give my stories, and particularly my idea of magic, a home. That's when I planted the first seed of what would later grow into a three part epic fantasy novel (part 1, also called Manuscript 2, nearing first draft status).

Sadly, my life was busy. For the first time I was independent, lived away from home, and tried to better myself by studying English Linguistic and Literature, which I later dropped in favour of a brand new Gaelic Studies degree to be completed in Scotland. Yet, in spite of countless hours of work, that seed I had planted grew. Aidan, my main character, started talking to me before I knew much more about him than his name, and the more I thought about the story, world building, plotting, character building, etc., the clearer his voice became, until I was so comfortable with his presence in my head that I regarded him like a very old, very dear friend. Close friends actually came to recognise him as a part of me.
“How is Aidan?” (meaning: are you writing?) – “He's great. We wrote almost 3000 words last weekend.”
You don't have to be crazy to be a writer, but sometimes I think it helps. ;)

Yet it was years before I started writing actual story, always lacking time or confidence - or both. In 2014 I decided I needed to kickstart this writing thing or it would never happen, passion or not. I did a 12-week online creative writing course to help me get into the right mindset and started writing. I loved it, but it was slow going. I drudged along, happy that there was some progress, but not really happy. The story had grown too big for me and I didn't feel like I was doing it justice, which stalled the whole process even more.

Fast forward to November 2015 and my first NaNoWriMo. During the summer I had come up with another wee idea - short and light rather than the epic proportions I liked to imagine for the other. I considered it my novel on the side, my little guilty pleasure. I never expected to end up loving it - or that I would actually crack the 50k.

By Christmas I had a finished first draft (i.e. Manuscript 1) along with an extra dollop of new confidence in my writing. So much so that I decided I needed to pursue it as more than just a hobby.

A lecturer once told me to always aim for the moon, for even if you fail you will land on a star. Getting published, and making a career out of writing, is my moon. The writing itself makes up my stars, because nothing gives me more pleasure than telling the stories that float about in my head.

And now, here I am, looking at this blank blog and wondering what on earth I would fill it with. Don't get me wrong, there is tons of advice on "how to blog right" out there, but none of them really fit me. Giving writing advice did not feel right. For one, there are a large number of blogs on just that available already. Plus, I am still learning myself and wouldn't really feel comfortable telling others what may or may not work for them.

I considered a book blog, but though I read a lot, I don't really have a regular reading slot, which would result in very sporadic updates on often fairly random books (a Gaelic translation of Before Night Falls, anyone?).

And while my life is fun, it certainly isn't interesting enough to warrant its own blog. I might like to pretend that people care about the beauty of tulips, or the 900th photo of my rabbits sitting there, looking cute, but, I fear, my friends just like to indulge my little, sad joys.

So what can you expect to find here? As you can see I'm still figuring it out myself, but most likely it will be a mix of things. There will be the occasional book/movie review, and also the odd tidbit about life (and pets!) in general. But, mostly, what you will get are my musings on the writing process - everything from Where do ideas come from? to Why won't my characters cooperate? to Why do I write better at 2 am than at 3 pm? and Is sleep overrated?

I shall also keep you posted on the progress of my various ideas/manuscripts and might even offer the odd snipped of story.

The plan is to update every two weeks, though I might consider doing a weekly post depending on how organised I am in making this blog part of my writing routine. Hope to see you all back soon on this exciting new journey! :)

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