I started to write when I returned to reading. Since becoming a mum to a boy in 1995 and again in 2001 (blue balloons again), I felt like I just did not have the time to return to a pastime hobby. I was reintroduced to reading by some work colleagues, passionate about one particular author. They leant me a book and my passion for reading was reignited! When the kids (including the husband) were fast asleep by 9pm (well trained) I’d put my feet up and read, read, read. I read some very good books, that left a lasting impression and some, not so memorable. However, I’m grateful for those not so impressive reads, as it was those, that planted the seed in my head to write a novel of my own and I did not stop at one. I remember the first time I sat, the seed or story growing in my mind, the forming of the beginning, middle and end and that for me is the foundation of attempting to write a novel and then, well, it’s like putting a giant jigsaw together.
The best part of the writing process is bashing out that first draft with all its flaws. Transport that story, that motion picture playing in your head, onto that word document or paper, because the even better part is yet to follow, when you commence the editing, the trimming, adding in the finer detail and ensuring the words flow with fluidity.
Every writer has their creative time; I am most creative late in the evening, with music for company and influence, yes influence. For example, when I was writing a harrowing chapter, I would listen to a heart wrenching song (Bollywood of course). When I was going back in time, I would listen to some youthful 80s music, Wham, Madonna, Whitney or when going further back in time, some melodious Rafi and Lata songs. When my protagonist decided enough was enough! I would listen to a passionate, driven, empowering song (that famous Dr Alban number helped the once, I know, I know!). It was like when the music flowed, so did the words, when there was romance in the song, there was romance in the words, when there was heartbreak in the song, there was heartbreak in the words, when there was fight in the song, there was fight in the words.
For me, writing is therapy. There are some things in life we have no control over, but when you are writing, you are in control. Maybe needing to step into a fictional world where you are in control is sad, but hey, if it makes you feel better, who cares. I’d rather write than dive into a box of chocolates (depending on time of month of course) or go out and get pathetically drunk (everything in moderation!).
Finally, if you decide to put it out there, be prepared for the criticism (she cringes), but don’t let that put you off, because if you can tell a story, tell it, even better if you can afford a copy editor! But what’s important is that you can write something that readers can relate to, connect to. Write with a purpose - strike that chord. If writing provides escapism for the writer, it also provides escapism for the reader; don’t deprive either.
J K Memmi, Self-published author, because life is too short.
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