I’m not sure how most writers start out. Whether they love to read/write from an early age and chase their dream, or if it is some other reason. But I do know that my story begins with an escape – an escape from a high pressure job and long hours working. I have never been one to read or write, but one day, some years ago, I came home from work and sat at the computer to unwind. I opened word and just started typing. I did this every day for a few weeks working on the same story and then it started to get tougher…did my protagonist have blue eyes? where was he born? who was his mother? I needed to make some reference notes.
After a week or two of working on the characters and the setting and putting down a very rough plot, I returned to writing. Some more time passed by and I had myself several chapters of what I believed to be a good story. Then unexpectedly my computer died and I lost everything. I was so disappointed that if my computer hadn’t already died, I would have killed it – I gave up on the whole thing.
Some time later I vented my frustrations to a friend and colleague who encouraged me to try again. I shrugged it off. That is until I was having coffee with another friend, an avid reader who also fixes computers. Of course, I had another rant about my old dinosaur of a computer and how I was working on a book and it got swallowed up in the big black hole he calls a hard drive. He couldn’t fix it, it had long since gone to the silicone valley in the sky. He did however, just as my colleague had done, encourage me to rewrite the book.
It was the interest of my friends and their desire to read my book when it was done that inspired me to try again. Yes – it was tough, I spent some nights just staring at a blank screen, other nights I had to force myself to even turn the computer on, but after around a year I actually did it. I had a draft copy of my first novel. I gave a sigh of relief, saved the file and forgot about it.
The little voice in my head niggled away at my subconscious and one morning I woke up and – BAM! I had to do something with it. I printed out the manuscript, cut and bound it into a makeshift book, slapped on a cover I drew by hand and gave it to my friend to read. A few weeks later I popped over on the premise that I was just passing and thought I would stop in for a coffee – he didn’t buy it, maybe it was something to do with the fact he lives in a dead end street. Truth be known I was foaming at the mouth waiting to find out what he thought about my book. I couldn’t believe it when and he actually said he liked it!
I was pumped now, but I had no idea where to go next. I chucked it in a draw and once again forgot about it. Some years later and for no particular reason, I started thinking about the book again. I decided to do some research about writing on my “Brand New” ex government computer. This is where I found my first gem of wisdom and my advice to all budding writers – Join a writers’ group!