The Writing Life: Why me?

I’m not sure if I ever actually chose to be a writer. It seems to have always been with me, as natural as breath.

If I had to point to one event that set me on the road, it would be my mother reading me The Hobbit when I was five years old. I was transported. I did not want to story to end. After that, I read the book for myself, over and over.  At first that was enough, but soon I wanted more. I daydreamed alternative adventures, extra episodes. But daydreaming alone also proved insufficient. When I was seven, I decided to write my own version of The Battle of Five Armies. (Yep, I started out in fan fiction!)  It was eight glorious pages long. After that, I knew that what I wanted to do was write my own stories, and as I read my way repeatedly through Narnia and other imaginary lands, there was only ever one form my stories were going to take: the fantasy novel.

As a child it was never a question of whether, only when. I started my first novel when I was thirteen, writing at an old desk my mother inherited from an accountant’s office. I remember The Last in Line by Dio playing on my stereo and the sun shining through my window, which inspired me to start the book with a scene in sunlight. One hundred and sixty three pages later it was finished. I decided the book was not long enough, and I had a great idea, so I added in a parallel storyline, to get twice as much story! It had to be twice as good, right? And then on to the sequel, now with added subplots!

I still have those handwritten efforts, and the typed revisions and expansions that were hammered out on a typewriter also inherited from that accountant’s office.

All my dreams have been of writing, of being a writer, and though I put aside those early books, I never imagined a life without writing. It has been a long road from then until now, but always I’ve thought about stories, about novels to write, to re-write, to finish. In my 20s and 30s, I struggled for too long with a book I was too insecure to submit. Years were lost; hard, slow lessons were learned. Eventually I learned to swallow my brittle pride, and ask for help. Fortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, I received it.

I decided to start afresh, something entirely new. I wondered what would happen if a thief, in the course of escaping from prison, released a demon. That seemed an interesting turn of events, and I explored it further. Thus, The Thief and The Demon, and so much more beyond it, was born.

So: why the writing life for me? Because despite all the distractions and diversions of life, all the other paths offered, I could not be anything else. And now, at long last, I’m about to bring my first novel to the world.

One thought on “The Writing Life: Why me?

  1. Pingback: The Writing Life: Being True to Your Instincts – Roderick T. Macdonald

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