Writing doesn’t come easy to most people and I’m no exception. My blogging goes in spurts, sometimes gushing along at a rapid rate every couple of days; other times weeks can go by before I can rouse myself and pen another blog.
I’ve been lucky that some of my more successful blogs took just minutes to write, a torrent of words streaming onto this space. Several times I committed to write more regularly, but something always came along and days slipped into weeks before I would feel compelled to sit down with my iPad.
My plans to write a book seemed to fall at every hurdle. Some of those obstacles were my own fault: I found it hard to motivate myself, to commit the time and energy needed. Mostly I just didn’t want to recall some of the events in my life that were too painful to contemplate. But I tried hard, honestly.
The book has been many years in gestation. I gave up several times, frustrated, unwilling to dredge up what I believed were events best forgotten. Once I started this blog I felt I owed it to my family to start afresh and build on my life dealing with facial disfigurement. Leaving the Examiner gave me the ideal opportunity, and with a new PC and a redecorated study I attacked the book with vigour. Then I began to find excuses to prevaricate, then stopped. I found every excuse to do other things, like reading books or watching TV, etc, and was helped even more when I found myself with a new job last year. Great, another reason not to write.
The book became a family joke, eyes going up to Heaven if anyone dared ask how the project was going.
Many of you have been very encouraging, and every so often would ask about the Book, which was always embarrassing to hear, but still I didn’t feel motivated enough to take that first step. Christmas came and went, our daughter got engaged, and our grand trip to Dubai, Hong Kong (where she is based at the moment) and Vietnam was another way for me to rationalise my inactivity.
I revived my interest in fiction months ago, meeting Sara Baume in Waterstones in Cork when she was part of a Q&A with Eoghan O’Sullivan, a former colleague in the Examiner. I began to read voraciously, collections of short stories and novels in particular. I had come to know some writers on Twitter, such as Sinead Gleeson, Lisa McInerney, Lia Mills, Hazel Katherine Larkin, Eleanor Fitzgibbon (whisper it but even Marian Keyes follows me.) and that was definitely a plus.
Anxious to meet up with Sinead Gleeson and Lisa McInerney who were both in Cork recently, I went along to a literary event bringing two of their books. It was a big thrill to meet both, and I was especially encouraged by Sinead’s advice about writing that book! Write something every day even if it’s only a few words. For some reason it seemed to release my inhibitions, so much so that the next morning I went into the study and took up where I had left off. Suddenly whatever blockages had been there disappeared.
I write most days now (except weekends) and while 72,000 words that now comprise the first draft to date, there is a lot more to come. Of course it’s not exactly polished writing, but I’m thrilled to have got so far. I know now for the first time that I can complete the book, that it WILL be finished. Rewriting won’t be easy, but at least I’ll have something to work with.
Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and patience.
I’ll keep you posted on my efforts.