My Written Word
This blog isn’t entirely NaNoWriMo centric (although, be warned, it will get more so as we creep towards November). I’m a writer. So, naturally, it’ll also be about writing.
I’ve talked about what NaNoWriMo means to me, and in a few blog posts time, I’ll talk about my first year NaNoing. But right now, I want to talk about what writing means to me.
I don’t remember what caused me to pick up a pen and write my first story. I vaguely remember writing it, but only just. According to the date Mum wrote on it, it was written in 1996, so I would have been 9 or 10. I have a feeling I was in year 4, though, which would make me 9 years old.
It was called The Kitten That Survived and was a heartwarming tale of a family of cats who got lost in the middle of winter. Mum cat was killed when she was hit by a car and the girl kitten was killed when she was hit by a sledge on a hill. The boy kitten made it back to their home and he took his owner to find his mother and sister and their bodies were buried. The whole story took up about two sides of blank A4 paper.
I was really proud of it. I’d written a story! My family read it and said they were proud too. Although, thinking back, it was kind of a disturbing first story for a 9 year old to write! I probably really freaked them out. I should really ask Mum about that some time.
My second story was about a girl who got kidnapped on the way home from school. I think it was actually called ‘Kidnapped’ and I’d entered a stage of writing where I felt I had to introduce all my main characters in the first paragraph, including full name age and a description. I was already learning how to write.
I’ve never looked back. Writing has always been part of who I am and an easy way to escape from the hum-drum-ness of reality. I wrote a lot of short stories growing up. I’d write anywhere if I had a piece of paper and a pen. I had notebooks filled with random bits of text and the beginnings of stories that never got finished but I liked the idea for a random opening paragraph and so wrote it down “just in case”. (Who am I kidding, I still have notebooks like this!) I ventured into teenage angst poetry for a few years, and to be honest, I don’t think I was that bad at poetry. But after I turned 18, I grew out of it. Poetry was definitely a way to vent. But I enjoyed the new creativity and I still have all my poems. I have folders and folders of them somewhere! (Some of them are also up on the Internet. But I’m not telling you where.)
When I discovered I had it in me to write novels, I found I could play with whole worlds of ideas and characters. I could mix stories together and do whatever I wanted to! Whatever world I was writing with was my oyster!
And there is something undescribable your characters being alive and taking over your story. Any writer reading this knows what I’m talking about. That moment when you meant for your story to go in one direction but, without any warning, it suddenly goes in a completely different direction as your characters get bored of following your lead and just take over. Tell that to any non-writer, and they’ll consider having you locked in a padded room. But, being a writer means you’ve always got friends along for the ride. Even if those friends are being written down on paper.
My dream for a long time has been to be published. I even did a joint degree with Creative Writing and got some fantastic tips from my tutor. But, even if I never get published, I hope I never stop writing. My life wouldn’t be the same without it.
(‘The Kitten That Survived’ is at my parents’ house. I’ll bring it down to London when I next visit and type it up for you.)