Lately I’ve been asked on a few occasions about how long I’ve been writing and where I get my ideas. I told them that I’ve been writing since I was little. It’s one of the first jobs I wanted to do, apart from being an astronaut and a palaeontologist. I wrote my first short story when I was nine and had my first poem published at 13 in the Write and Shine Anthology.
The bottom line is, if I didn’t write, I wouldn’t be me. I’ve always written. In fact, I honestly think it keeps me sane. Above is a visual representation of what I think would happen to my brain if I didn’t write. The words would have to come out of my head somehow; they would simply bleed out through my skin. As for my ideas, they pop in there seemingly randomly, and come from everywhere and everything. It’s usually sparked by something in the real world, rather than TV or books though. For example, my current horror novel WIP#6 was inspired by the Christmas lights I was hanging up in my house in December that kept malfunctioning. Before I realised they were broken, I was left feeling seriously spooked. Those things put me through one hell of a major gaslighting session, I’ll say that!
Writing every day takes effort – and discipline. The hardest part I find is fitting it into a busy schedule. In order to keep myself motivated, I have learned to change my outlook over the decades: when I was younger I focused on word count targets. Nowadays, I’m happy if I even get one sentence written and don’t set rigid targets each day, week or month. Any progress on a manuscript draft counts, even if that means cutting out parts that no longer fit the story. Improving and moving forwards is the flexible destination I like to reach with my writing now; when I stick to this mindset then, voila, I find myself with a finished book in no time. Well, maybe a year or so at any rate (ha, ha!)