Friday, 6 April 2012

F is for Family

Time for F in my A-Z series "26 Things that Made Me a Writer".

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I can be pretty soppy on occasion. I am going to be unashamedly so today. Apologies made, let's crack on.

I started writing my first novel in March 2007, at age 26. I had got married in June the year before. In April 2006 I had also started a reliable job at the Department for Work and Pensions. I was well and truly settled down. So in what way did this spur my desire to write a book?

The first short story I have a clear memory of writing was in 1997. I was pretty pleased with it. It had a time travel element, something I've always been fascinated by. However, I never even completed another story until I started writing that novel, except for a half-baked foray into horror for my college magazine, which was never published. I certainly never felt satisfied with any of my scratchy attempts during that decade-long interim.

So why did it take until I was married and had a steady job to start taking writing seriously? I've come to the conclusion that I needed to be settled and have stability. Certainly I used to have more time on my hands. I like to think I used that time gaining life experience, but really my youth was pretty tame compared to most. At 18, for example, rather than clubbing it up in Brighton's top nightspots, my friends and I would sit in a cosy corner of a pub supping pints of Guinness and pondering life's conundrums. We probably thought we were pretty intellectual, but anyone listening in would surely have taken our chat for the nonsense it actually was.

I also think I needed the emotional support required for writing. I never used to think I had anything worth saying, but my wife encouraged me to give it a try, if only to stop me going on about it all the time. Then the idea for my book came to me and I've never looked back. She took a look at my WIP about halfway through -  I have never felt more nervous when showing anyone my work - and her advice was invaluable on what was going wrong, such as my somewhat suspect dialogue (my characters were Scottish although you wouldn't have known it), but she also said it was exciting and she wanted to know what happened next. That was pretty validating considering I was trying to write a thriller.

The kids are great for inspiration too. I could write more than a few excellent children's stories based on some of the things they come out with.

So, how do your loved ones inspire you as a writer?

NB: This is a prescheduled post as I am away from April 2-6. I will endeavour to respond to all comments on my return.


S.P. Bowers said...

I've written most of my life and while I submitted a few things here and there I never really studied the publishing industry and tried to make it a profession until we had our son. At this point I was in my early 30's busy with family and kid. I often wonder why I didn't use those long leisurely pre-child days of my 20s to do this. It just wasn't right. I think I'd always thought "I'll do it when I grow up" I finally realized I was grown up and if I wanted to do it I better do it now. Without the support of my family though it would be impossible.

Sally said...

It's so wonderful to hear that you have the encouragement of your loved ones, sometimes that's all you need.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wouldn't have even tried to rewrite my old manuscript if not for my wife!

C.B. Wentworth said...

They always say writing is a solitary pursuit, but the longer I write the more I realize it takes a village. If it weren't for my husband and the rest of my family who knows if I'd be writing at all. They are my support system, inspiration, and cheerleaders. :-)

Sharkbytes said...

Glad your family is supportive. It really helps. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge this month.

Sarah Tokeley said...

I love that your biggest champion is your wife. This is how it should be :-)

Mel said...

Great post! It's always helpful to have a supportive system when you're working on something that means a great deal to you. Keep at it!

Nick Wilford said...

S.P. - Sometimes it takes having that responsibility to focus you. And you need to live a little. With more time on my hands, I wasn't as driven as I am now.

Sally - Well said.

Alex - Thanks for sharing that! I'm glad your wife supports you.

C.B. - Yeah, I don't think I could do this on my own.

Sharkbytes - Thanks. Good luck with visiting all the blogs - that is a herculean task!

Sarah - Yes, but I'm not saying I don't drive her up the wall sometimes...

Mel - I think they all know how much it means to me so I want to make it work so all that support is worth it.

kjmckendry said...

You've got a great family there!