At the beginning of this year, I was made redundant, it took me ages to find a new job which pretty much killed my self confidence; I started blogging more, as a way of making sense of what was happening, I also started to spend a lot of time on twitter, I just happened to see a retweet from someone about a gothic publishing house looking for submissions for an anthology, this mad that little voice in my head say ‘HEY. HEY YOU! You can do that. Write a story.’
So I did what any sane person would do and ignored it. But it kept niggling at me, out of now where I got ideas and found myself researching castles and reading ghost stories, which is not really out of character for me at all, I love that stuff.
Then I picked up a pen, opened a pad of paper and started to write. Something I haven’t done for many, many years. And it felt great! I remembered how much I used to LOVE writing, a friend then reminded me that she had a pile of poems I had written and kept them ‘just in case I became famous so she could sell them and make lots of money’ and I started to claw back a little bit of myself. I wrote and re-wrote and re-re-wrote and read and re-re-re-wrote and finally the deadline arrived and it was too late to read or re-write any more so I send off my little story into the wide world for strangers to read and oh-my-god a stranger was going to read my words.
And then I waited.
The email came when I was staying with my best friend in England, I woke up one more and read my emails and burst into tears and the strangers liked my story and could-they-put it-in-their-book-please?
Now, if you google my name + Amazon + Gothic, my little story comes up. I cried the first time I saw it. And now I feel proud and happy and that if I hadn’t been made redundant I never would have had the time, or inclination, to start writing again. Which is a weird feeling, that something good came out of something so horrible.
Now I’m nearly 20,000 words into the first draft of my first book. I try to write every day, I try to write 1,000 words every day which sometimes goes better than others. I’ve just finished a 5 week course on writing and how to structure, plot, develop characters and not get so daunted that it makes me want to run away and hide at the enormity of writing a book that people might actually want to read.
I read a quote recently from PD James, something that was echoed by Natasha Lester on the course, that I really love, it is
‘Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.’