Just over five years ago, I decided to start writing again. And when I say again, I mean, actually write for the first time, something that wasn’t an essay for school. Although to be fair, I did have some fun doing that…
Anyway, had I been a technologically switched on person, I most likely would have started blogging, but seeing as at that point, I thought that Facebook was the root of all evil (haven’t times changed? 🙂 ), instead I thought, ‘oh I’ll just write a book!’
As you do.
Among writers, that’s not really a crazy statement to make; lot’s of us have that idea and hope to do it. Amongst those who aren’t literary minded however, I’ve discovered it’s similar to if someone said to me, ‘I’m going to swim the English Channel.” Or some other great physical feat that requires years of practice, dedication and training.
My response is pretty much going to be, ‘Good on you… But why?”
So with that in mind, whenever I have the book writing conversation with people, I try to ease into it and not seem like a crazy person, or a very clever person (because that’s kind of what people think, which confuses me, but anyway), or anything apart from a normal person. Just one who wrote a book because she’s a writer, and that’s what writers do. And also because she thought the internet in specific, and computers in general, were evil.
So I feel even more awkward, when after the ‘yes I wrote a book, but it’s self published, and I’m shocking at marketing, and I need to work out how to sell more,’ statements from me, and the lovely, well-meaning, but in my mind, totally unjustified praise from others, I then am faced with the obvious question.
“So will you be writing any more?”
Umming and ahhing, and only too aware that there are boxes of books under Ava’s bed that still need to be sold, and fighting all sorts of self put down’s and deprecating remarks, I try to quietly mention that I have in fact already written another book, I just have to type it up.
“Oh how exciting! That’s so fantastic! Lovely! And what is that one about? Is that a sequel?’
And then it gets even more awkward. Not for them, just for me. Or maybe for them, as I start to stammer about how ‘it was supposed to be a sequel, and it kind of is, but it took a bit of a different direction, and I’m going to have to do lots of work on it, and….’ all the while thinking of those boxes of unsold books.
You see it was never weird to just sit down and think ‘I’ll write a book.’ And once that book was finished (albeit sitting unedited on a computer), it wasn’t any more of a stretch to go, ‘hey, I’ll write another one!!’ That’s just what writers do; they write. Whether it’s songs, limericks, novels, greeting cards, screen plays, blog posts, whatever. Most of us aren’t as preoccupied with who’s reading, as we are with just getting the story out. The worrying comes later.
Which is why four years ago, I wrote a sequel to Diary of a SAHM, thinking it would be an extension of the first book, and more of the same, humorous, parenting banter.
Well, I was wrong.
It’s not humorous, there’s little banter, and as I’ve said before, reading some of it makes me want to tear my eyeballs out. It’s not that the content is bad; because it’s not. It’s just that it’s really raw. In a bad punctuation, hastily scrawled, not-even-slightly-well-thought-out-sentences, kind of way. Reading it and transferring it from paper to screen is a delicate process that involves making sense of the heart of the words, keeping their wonderful vulnerability, and yet polishing it into something that is actually going to be readable.
The thing is, when I set out to write it, it was just a story that needed telling, like any other. What I didn’t anticipate is what the story would be. But as the pages turn, as the entries pour out, you can almost see when depression took its ugly hold on me. That mental illness that sneaks up on you, and doesn’t capture your attention until you’re well and truly in its hold, is suddenly visible through the pages of my words. Each cunning step clear as day, as the story unfolds.
A lot of people write because of depression. Some write through depression. I’m reading this and seeing myself actually become depressed.
It’s a little, well, depressing.
In a hopefully positive, uplifting kind of way. 😉
To be honest, at this point, I’m not entirely sure. What I do know though, is that aside from awkward conversations about writing, frustrations over my inability to market myself well, watching myself fall victim to AND, and poorly worded phrases that need reconstructing to have any kind of power, the idea of writing a(nother) book still seems like the only logical thing to do.
It was what I wanted to do five years ago, what I determined to do as a pre-teen, and what I dreamed of doing as a seven-year old, when I wrote stories on pieces of paper and stapled them together to make ‘picture books.’
So I’m working on another book.
Simply because that’s what writers do.
What about you?
What is that you do, even though it seems crazy to others, but perfectly natural to yourself?
Anyone want to swim the English Channel? 🙂