Sunday, 12 May 2013

I think it might actually be happening...

Like, for real.

Ever since I can remember I've wanted to write a book. A novel or a history book maybe. Possibly based on fact and most likely including Henry VIII. Ideas have been varied, ambition has been constant, procrastination and fear of failure have been ubiquitous.

Over the last decade I have had tens of thousands of words published all over the place. In magazines, on websites, on my blog, on other blogs... usually completely unremarked upon as it was generally ghostwritten copy (and also deeply, deeply dull for the most part, unless you particularly like to read about how the major supermarkets like to run their internal communication seminars and I'm going to assume you're normal and think that sounds like the seventh circle of a deadly tedious hell). Tens of thousands of my words crafted for their purpose and then set free to sink into the ether, never to be read or seen again.

And because a girl (and her fat cat) have to eat and keep themselves in nice houses and tobacco, this kind of writing has taken precedence over creating something for me. Something that I'm genuinely proud of. Something I am scared to let anyone else read for fear that they might diss my baby. I rarely even register people reading most of my day to day writing any more, after all that's what I do. I write copy on behalf of other people and they put their name to it, or a company puts its name to it, or another blogger puts their name to it and I immediately forget about it. I don't take criticism to heart when I do get it because I'm pretty confident in my writing. My writing for cash that is.

I know how to write to a certain audience for a certain reason. I know how to make people who can't string written sentences together sound erudite and charming. I know how to write a fancy email to get someone to do something. That's all by the by. But I have always doubted my ability to write something I could legitimately be proud of.

There have been many abortive attempts at writing 'properly', many ideas jotted down and then left to die. But it keeps coming back to the same refrain in my head. I want to write a book. Even if no one else ever reads it. Even if the person who does read it hates it. I want to write it and I want to make it as good as I can and I want to finish it. I want to be that kind of writer.

And, thanks to a rather marvellous evening class, it looks like I'm taking actual baby steps towards doing this. So far, I have an idea. A solid idea. I have a narrative voice. I have at least five characters. I have a vague idea of a plot. And today I bought myself everything I need to formulate the Grand Plan for my book. A whiteboard, some pens and some post its. I'm going to plan the shit out of this. And I'm going to finish it.

(It's about death, by the way. I know, I know, you thought it would be some happy go lucky love story didn't you? Well, I'm nothing if not predictable...)

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