It’s taken me a while to catch on, but I finally have.
Everything I’ve believed about writing is wrong. But now I know, I can make it right.
I’ve been writing since I was seven and as I’m a little older than 35 (snort, snigger..guffaw) that’s a few years. I’ve been published in all sorts of places, and I’ve taken time to learn the different styles of writing. Writing for University could not be more different than copywriting radio advertising, for example. Writing about latches and locks and hinges(just call me Mde Lash) for 18 months takes a certain approach that is way different to writing on the internet.
So I’ve had to adapt and change. I’ve grown. I’ve refined my style. I’ve learnt to listen to others and take their lessons on board – writing is a hard enough game without learning every single bloody lesson yourself.
I’ve learnt the dialect of the internet and how to throw away the old rules of good style. The scholarly authors of Strunk & White would be turning in their respective graves. I start sentences with conjunctions if it suits the pace. I don’t always honour a sentence with a verb. Sometimes I just jot down phrases really.
It seems to work.
And now I need to tackle the biggest misunderstanding of all. It was simply this: I read some time ago that you had to wait for the ‘thing’ to finish before you could write about it. It made sense to me at the time.
I didn’t really want to write and finish my memoir (From Pavlova to Pork Pie) because the story -our story- wasn’t finished yet. Actually, I didn’t know how it was going to end, let alone how I was going to write the ending.
So I waited. And waited and waited.
I waited all through the deportation saga, not writing because I didn’t know yet whether we were going to be deported or not.
I waited all through the tough times when I wasn’t sure whether we were going to get on a plane and leave England and if we were, who was coming with us.
I couldn’t write through the dark days when things were frankly grim. We didn’t feel like an uplifting story then. How would I write that?
Divorced Mum of three moves to England to live with her soul mate, and then it all turned to custard?
Who wants to read that? I guess, there’s some who might put their Mills & Boon down for that… but it isn’t my style.
Instead of working on my story, I kept writing other stories for clients about things that don’t hold such emotional energy. And I blogged, which frankly kept me sane.
These bloggy peeks behind the curtain have allowed me to feel that I am satisfying my need to tell my story. Yet all the while I’ve been feeling heavier and heavier with need.
I feel I am so pregnant with book I’m about to break my waters on the kitchen floor, or perhaps at the height of the weekly supermarket shop. This book baby, like every other baby, isn’t waiting for me to be ready. It’s not waiting for me to have the story arc perfectly refined, and as for knowing the ending? Good luck with that.
Though I will admit it would help if I knew to:
Use our real names or not
Write in the third person or first person
How much to reveal?
Yesterday I grumbled off to bed feeling more than a little grumpy. I felt blocked. Not that I didn’t know what to write, more I didn’t know if I had permission to indulge myself. I dreamt last night that I closed this blog down and all the other blogging activities I have on. There wasn’t any consternation about that decision in my dream; it wasn’t a nightmare. I felt resolved and freed.
I knew then that everything I’ve believed about writing your story is wrong.
There is no beginning, I don’t need to know the ending. I can feel every professional editor in the world wince as I say that, but I’m resolute. There is a right time to write your story. It’s not when the planets are in alignment or at the right time of the year for marketing around Christmas, or even when the real life drama is over.
Good thing that, because as anyone who knows me will agree; if I had to wait till the drama was over I’d never get to write. I am a veritable drama Llama.
The right time to write, is when you are full of passion for it.
When the niggling voice becomes a yelling in your subconscious that annoys the crap out of you at night. When you feel pregnant and creaky and uncomfortable and as if your life is culminating in this one moment of truth.
It’s book labour day.
I’ve birthed three babies through long hard pregnancies and juicy Caesarian sections, how hard can one little ole book be?
NB/ Not closing the blog down. I love it too much. Oh and if you could weigh in with your thoughts below – Should I use our real names in ‘the book’?