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  • Writer's pictureJ.M.

Why I Don't Like Writing

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

a fragment of the author's mum's writing describing the author as a three year old sitting down to 'write' at a n improvised desk.

I've confessed that as a child I didn't like writing. But I have evidence that whatever I thought about it, I did do it, voluntarily.

My mum liked to write - notes and poetic observations mostly. Because she had a form of bi-polar, which sometimes made her do disturbing things, I couldn't look at these writings until long after she died. But when I did, I was surprised.

I have no memory of this but I actually think that what this three-year-old at a desk was enjoying was the sense of being in charge. I don't know how I made the connection between desks and control, my dad was a lorry driver - I don't think he ever sat at a desk. But somehow I think I knew that being in charge was what I really wanted and for that you had to sit at a one.

Well, 'in charge' is what I am at last – of this little publishing exercise at least!

So reasons why I still don't like writing . . .

  1. Writing still feels like homework, the action of scraping a pen on some paper is repetitive with little scope for creativity - I could tell how bored I was at school by how many handwriting styles I'd tried out per page.

  2. The quest for a perfect pen is unending - I think I've found one that slips pleasingly over the paper and the next I know the Borrowers (our house is infested) have snatched it away.

  3. Notebooks - the nice ones never lay flat and they're ridiculously expensive too.

  4. And mostly, it's just plain hard.

Unfortunately what I discovered in my mid 40s was that they key to unlocking a story was sitting down to write it. That may sound obvious but I'd spent years in awe of those people who can spin a yarn - raconteurs, real storytellers, the Michael Morpurgos of the world. I thought that if you couldn't do that there was no point in picking up a pen and even trying.

I admit there is something curiously satisfying about tapping out letters on a keyboard but the writing is still the hard bit - the constant what comes next the feeling your way through a fog of ideas, the terror (too strong a word perhaps eek is better?) of what if the fog is nothing, just fog, and then there's the overthinking!

But it's the creation, the living in a world of your own invention and having total dominion over it (except in those strange times when your characters take over) is what makes it so worth the effort. Which is why at the end of the week, I'm going to launch into another month of frenzied novel writing.

Nanowrimo - National Novel Writing Month is when thousands of writers all over the world, set themselves the goal of writing 50,000 words in November, that's 1667 words a day, 50,000 words being the minimum for a novel for adult readers.

The first draft of The Wonder Girls was a 'Nano' novel and on Friday I'm going to start the first draft of The Wonder Girls 2. I'll update here how I'm getting on but because first drafts are fragile things, I'll tell you little about the story - it will all be about the numbers – the words on the page, the writing - aargh!

The beauty of a frenzied first draft is that in the mad rush to get the story out, spelling, grammar (tenses ) formatting, all the fussy stuff flies out the window! At the moment I have no idea how TWG2 is going to open, I do have a few ideas, which look nothing like a plan but, as I've learned, I'm just going to sit down and start.

Somebody who's just confessed, again, that they don't like writing doesn't really have any business thinking they can write a novel in a month, much less holding a book launch at the end of the week.

I hope you can come.

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So sorry I can't come to the launch, Jan. I hope it goes well; I'll be cheering from afar.

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