Sometimes I wonder, when I started out with serious intentions of making it as a published novelist, had I known just how long it can take, and how many ups and downs the road can have, in striving for this elusive ‘perfect’ novel — would I still have taken the first step?
Sometimes I wonder, when I work with new writers still taking those first tentative steps towards their dream — should I give them the wake up call or let them keep dreaming?
Sometimes I wonder.
Of course I would still have taken those steps.
Of course I want those writers to keep dreaming — ‘informed’ dreaming — this is a long road but you don’t have to take it alone.
Writing for me isn’t a choice but a part of me and it started when I was a child. If any of us were gifted with hindsight would we do things differently? I am glad not to have hindsight. Someone said to me once if I had known when I met the love of my life — or should I say when an 8 year friendship turned into something romantic, would I still have kissed him if I’d known three years later he was going to die of cancer? That person even suggested I might not. Of course I would! Of course. And I’m glad I didn’t know because everything would have been tinged with urgency and sadness. I live my life to make everything count anyway. I always say I love you when I feel it … so of course. And the same with my writing. We learn and are shaped and become what we are. both in a personal sense and as a writer from life, from the journey. We are what we are because of everyone we meet along the way and every experience we have. It is what makes us who we are.
Yes it is a long road and it can be difficult — because when you want something so much you want it now. But patience is essential for a writer. Work at it and it will come. Can you learn to be a good writer? Yes. Yes I think you can learn anything, it’s the passion that fuels the success. The passion that gets you out of bed at 4 am to write (as I used to) and it’s the passion that lets you brush off another rejection and keep going. In fact passion has a lot to answer for — in more ways than one.
But above all passion makes you want to be better. It makes me want to be a better writer and it’s that that gives the drive and the tenacity to keep going even when you doubt yourself.
I like to see the road, I like to see where it might bend, where it might be a hill or where it might be a lovely smooth glide, so yes look ahead and be ready. Look back and see how far you came … but if I really knew what was ahead … nah. Let’s enjoy seeing what it brings.
Let’s keep the dream alive.
What do you think?
See what the road brings …