I am a writer. I don’t mean that in the sense that I earn a living from it, far from it. I have certainly paid out more in my venture to write than I have received. No, I write to gain an understanding. For example, I was having difficulty with an online program and rather than call up the help desk I decided to email them with my concerns. As I broke down the issues and addressed them in writing the solution provided itself to me. I also have moments where my emotions are so overwhelming that in order for me to communicate my intentions and motivations I need to write down the emotions I’m feeling, as if to discard them to the page or pen them as a testament that I had felt them. And then I can move on.
I was a reader before I was a writer. As a child I loved hearing stories about fairy tales and –like many children – believed that life was a fairy-tale. If I worked hard and followed the rules, then I’ll be rewarded with; a knight in shining armour; a pot of gold; a promised land.
Of course, as adults we know that isn’t true, in fact life can be the very opposite of a fairy tale. But when I write, the new worlds I create are my own personal fairy tales.
I don’t always have a happy ending, I prefer those that leave the reader thinking, gaining a new insight into human behaviour. Naturally, the protagonists achieve their goals but at what price? The beauty for me is that I know the ending, it doesn’t matter where I am in my manuscript, it may be the darkest of black moments or the height of the climax, I know where it will end. I’m in control of my created world.
If I didn’t have writing, my world would be a mere shell of my existence. I have already lived my life. I have achieved all that I hoped to achieve (yes, my expectations were lowered dramatically once I realised, I wasn’t going to get the prince, the castle or the pot of gold), but my writing spurs me on. The next manuscript will be better than the last. The next story desperate to burst forth will capture the eye of an editor. The next book won’t take me three years to write.
It appears that my life has become a series of goals only related to writing. My understanding of myself and others has become no more than a prose. Sometimes they are pleasant words, descriptive, flowing and poetic. Others angry, red, short and sharp.
In my writing I can be all the things I am not in reality. I can be witty; I’ll instantly respond to a Smart Alec who insults me when I take the last seat on the train – ‘you snooze you lose!’ rather than look the other way, lost for words.
I will be the dashing romantic goddess who has to choose between an Adonis and Hercules; I’ll be svelte, smooth skinned and beautiful, inside and out. I won’t be self-conscious and worry that I haven’t shaved my legs that morning.
I will be the best boss, always compassionate but with the right amount of authority when needed and the confidence in my knowledge to pull it off. No imposter syndrome for me, thanks.
And of course, I will always get the ending I want. No second best.
To this end I’m writing my memoirs. Not that I have done anything memorable, really. But it is proving to be an interesting exercise. Plugging life events into the Turning Points of a novel. Imagine ‘the hook’ – the little girl on a London footpath with her mother and their worldly belongings between them in a battered brown suitcase. The ‘inciting incident’ – the magical Christmas when Santa actually visited. Or the ‘meet cute’ – the first moment I saw my baby half-sister. The ‘point of no return’ – when the Wicked Witch and the Big Bad Wolf return and never leave. The ‘goal’ – to return to that magical time when Santa visited. The ‘conflict’ – having the Wicked Witch and the Big Bad Wolf as parents. The ‘all is lost moment’ – when you just can’t fight any more. The ‘darkest moment’ – when you lock your emotions away forever. The ‘climax’ – When despite your best efforts you can’t keep everything locked up and the ‘resolution’ – yet to be written!
I would recommend everyone step back and look at their life through the omniscient narrator, how would you describe some of the major points in your life. Was there a darkest moment, how did you heroically survive it? Reducing your life to a narrative is pleasantly surprising when you discover the hero within. The perfect persona that you aim for each day.
You don’t need to wait until you have the perfect car, house, hairdo or figure. You are the hero of your novel – your life, already.
Be happy and be proud of what you have achieved and what you offer to those around you. You are a writer, writing your own book on your terms and you have the starring role.