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.