I was sitting at my desk at around ten o’clock at night, knowing that I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d finished the next chapter, so hello two o’clock in the morning and I suddenly realized; writing is a terrible hobby. I could be rock climbing or surfing, but oh no. No sane person would actually choose this life, right?
So it hits me. I must have been conned. Somewhere, at some point in my childhood, someone told me that being a writer would be great and I haven’t realized until now I’ve been the victim of a twenty plus years practical joke.
I get down to examining my list of suspects. I start from the top, but it’s probably not my family. My parents and sister are my biggest fans, naturally, but I think they just got on board with my dream rather than tricking me into it. And even if they are to blame, they’ve been punished enough after being forced to read everything I give them.
Growing up, I did have a few friends who wanted to be writers. But that’s why we became friends, rather than the other way around. And I don’t think it was one of my teachers either. I used to write during lessons when they weren’t looking. And although they were fairly impressed when I showed them the novel I had written at eleven years old, they used it as an opportunity to teach me how to proofread.
Then who or what inspired me to write? Setting aside a fairy didn’t arrive in the night and hit me with her wand hard enough to give me a concussion, it must have happened somehow. Being a writer means bearing your soul on a page, being brave when people give you criticism and spending hours researching what exactly that climbing plant is called because you have to get it right or the whole world will know you’re a terrible writer.
Turns out it’s called Clematis ‘Prince Charles’. Or Clematis viticella. But, wait a minute. Now I’ve got a continuity issue because if it’s called ‘Prince Charles’ it can’t have been called that in the Victorian era, right? Gah! Now I have to buy a book on the history of plants, don’t I? I’ll add it to my book on the German Revolution, Smuggling in the British Isles and the hundred and one other books I bought for research purposes. My shelves, not to mention my bank account, can’t take this sort of strain.
And don’t even get me started the process I go through trying to decide on a character name. Driving my head repeatedly into the desk would be a less painful and more productive method.
I have no one to blame for it. The truth is, we weren’t conned. We were doomed from the minute we picked up a book or met someone who could spin a tale. In my family, growing up with books galore, an Irish grandmother and a Cypriot grandfather, I was not wanting for good stories.
While these people (family, friends, and authors are alike) were telling us stories, they were inspiring us.