Once upon a time there was a child. The fact that she was female is irrelevant to this tale, but you can take is as written that she was.
She started writing as soon as she could shape the letters, long before she could spell. Her early achievements included a nice little poem about flying cats. A nice little piece of fantastical doggerel, even if she says so herself. Unfortunately everyone around her believed it to be so also, and made sure she knew it. Having created something ‘Good’, she rested on her laurels and basked in the glory and the accolades until they ceased some years later.
For a while she turned her attention elsewhere; to book reviews, sketching, and history articles. Again she was much lauded and rested on her laurels.
Soon though this was not enough, and a burning desire to WRITE filled her. Those early attempts do not deserve any further attention being very derivative, and reeking of her immature and inexperienced teenage self. Even she realised they could just not be allowed to see the light of day and put them aside.
Then came University and ‘Life’ happened.
Sure she became involved in writers workshops and SF/F conventions where she mingled with many many a published author and learnt at their feet. She even won the odd award, but the burning desire within her to WRITE was dulled. Or maybe it was that it was satisfied by essays, translations of ancient texts, and editing other people’s works? Or maybe it was distracted by other matters such as friendships, boys, and religious debate? That is, she was now fully immersed in ‘Life’ and was content with small offerings to the ghods of creation.
Then she hitched up with a man, like unto no other, and together they produced the ultimate in creations, not once, but twice.
These creations proved to be massive resource drains, and not only were they not complete when published, but they required continuous and massive edits and re-writes. This process of caring for the Organic Works in Progress took all the energy of both their parents for many years.
By the time the girl could lift her head again, she was no longer the callow youth she’d been all those years ago. Now, a mature experienced woman, the urge to WRITE returned, but now she had ‘responsibilities’. She buried and tried to ignore the urge.
One day, while waiting for her family to crawl out of a Dalek (or two), she poured out her frustration to a wonderful wisewoman. A woman who had managed, despite her own responsibilities to actually become ‘Published’. This wisewoman offered eight words of advice.
“If you want to write, just do it!”
So simple, yet so profound. It was a real epiphany to our wannabe writer.
“If you want to write,
Just do it!”
But When, Where, How? Between earning a living, managing a household, and caring for the Organic WIPs where would she find the time? The energy? She was so often so exhausted she was just running on automatic.
“If you want to write, I’ll keep the kids out of your hair whenever I can” her equally exhausted and busy partner offered.
So he did, and she took up writing again. And she wrote. And wrote. She even entered her fledgling attempts in competitions they never won. The more she reacquainted herself with the craft of writing though, the more her innate talent and creativity pushed through.
The floodgates crashed open. Once she had started, she found she couldn’t stop. She wrote long into the night when the house slept, on the train between work and home, and even stolen moments at work. Even when not writing, the stories filled her head once again and demanded release.
Exhaustion? What was that when this or that needed to be got down on paper/computer or tweaked this way or that to make it match the visions dancing in her head.
But then, with two novels almost complete, calamity struck.
The oh-so-wonderful partner became ill. Very ill. He could no longer distract the Organic WIPs and give her time to write. Both he and the Organic WIPs needed her. Once again she shelved her desires. But this time she vowed it would not be for long. Not writing was like losing a part of herself she held very dear, and she would never do that to herself again.
And so it came to pass. Her partner ceased to need her for all the wrong and worst possible reasons. The Organic WIPs began to take some responsibility for themselves, and their need of her diminished as they grew in autonomy.
Finally, one glorious day, a Publisher said, “I’ll take that story.”
Like the wisewoman she was now ‘published’. Unlike the girl though, she has learnt her lesson, and there will be no resting on her laurels. There are at least five other novels waiting in the wings, and hopefully many many more.
If she has any words of wisdom to pass on to emerging writers, they will not be her own. They will be the words of that wisewoman.
“If you want to write, just do it!”
© LynC 2015
You can find Lyn here and her book here. I only discovered Lyn’s booklaunch after it had happened, at the moment when I was checking with the publisher (at their stall, at Continuum) to see if Satalyte were really, really sure they wanted my books. That was one launch I will always regret missing.