I’ve been writing again! After seeing Neil Gaiman two Fridays ago (and hearing samples and previews of his new books The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Fortunately, The Milk), I found my creativity. Like, seriously, found it. All I can think about is Shattered, the story the excerpt from last week came from–I even have a playlist started. I’ve been writing The Museum with some advice from the lovely Neil (Gaiman, sorry tGNA Neil): If you write 300 words a day, at the end of the year you will have a novel. It’s not exactly a NaNo challenge, but it’s a challenge all the same. I’ve got WriteChain loaded on my iPhone to keep me on track (with the ability to skip two days of writing, for those busy weekends when husband and I don’t work), and I’ve been writing.
I am excited.
As for editing, I have two books left (thirty-ish thousand words) of Charlie & Cub. I have started a plan for doing the second round of editing, and I have figured out how my sister (the illustrator) and I will work to get the illustrations right. I feel like I’ve had a productive week!
Now, onto my beginnings story.
I did not always want to be a writer. I wanted to be a scientist. Then a director. And then in year 9 (I was fourteen), I wanted to be a writer. I had an amazing English teacher. She was a writer herself, and she told me about the Somerset competition. Basically, high school students write a novella of 10-20 thousand words.
I wrote 14,000.
It was the first piece of writing I actually remember doing.
I didn’t win Somerset. Probably because half-way through the novella, I realised that the story was a complete novel idea, and that novel idea is Twisted Fate. (We won’t even go there–I’m sure I’ve confused you all enough with Shattered, The Museum and Charlie & Cub.) Twisted Fate is sitting in my to-be-written file.
But from that moment onwards, I wanted to be a writer. My English teacher made me a writer.
The next stage was actually studying creative writing at university. Since it wasn’t my prominent desire at that stage–I wanted to get an unbelievable GPA leaving high school–I wasn’t writing that much. I was studying mathematics and science. I did several holiday workshops at the state writers centre, and I wrote very very occasionally. I got my awesome GPA, but to study creative writing, I needed an awesome portfolio. The next pieces of writing I remember doing are those portfolio pieces.
I got into my degree. And that was that, really. I swung between wanting to work in publishing, being an editor, being a publisher–but really, I just wanted to be a writer.
And now I am. When people ask me what I do, I tell them “I’m a writer”. Sure, they may look at me weirdly, but this is what I do. This is my passion. If I’m not a writer, I don’t know what–or who–I am.
I don’t think my story is usual. The first book I remember being given to start my libary collection, I was given at fifteen. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, I read in Dec 2005. I was given my own copy that Christmas. (The copy I originally read was my English teacher’s–she told me to let my mother read it first for the sex; I didn’t give it to Mum until three years later. She was pretty happy I didn’t show her; she said she wouldn’t have bought it for me.) My writing life essentially started at fifteen. I was a reader, but didn’t own my own books until fifteen. I wrote my first story at fifteen.
I began life at fifteen.