Lindsay Complin is an unpublished author working on her first novel. She has written an interesting guest post about how and why she writes.
The Odd Half Hour
Six months ago I was sat at my desk at work dreaming of that magical day, which was bound to arrive shortly, when I would be a full time writer and my days would be spent drifting about in a joyous haze of book signings, literary talks and endless hours focussing on my next novel. I hadn’t actually written anything at this point beyond some half started notes comprising plot lines and character biographies. But in my head were at least half a dozen best sellers all jostling to get out. It was only a matter of time I was sure.
These books had remained in my head for years and not found their way onto the page because I had no time. Work. Two daughters. Home. Friends. Family. There were so many things tugging at my sleeve needing attention that my quiet author aspirations were constantly overlooked. I wasn’t sure how these books were going to get written but surely they would. Maybe next week. Or next month.
And then eighteen months ago my mother passed away. Very suddenly and very unexpectedly. I am not sure whether a grown up can be called an orphan, but my father had passed away six years before and I found myself without the conventions and expectations of being a daughter. And I also found myself wondering why I was flogging away at work saving for my retirement when all I really wanted to do was see if I could write a book that was good enough to be published.
Thicker Than Water was an idea that wouldn’t go away. It is the story of a woman whose brother comes to her one evening having run someone over after he has been drinking. She has to decide whether to help him or turn him into the police.
I gave myself a good talking to of course. Did I think the story was a good one? Was it something that could be commercially successful? Was the plot intricate enough to sustain a whole book? Were the characters believable? Did I think I was good enough? Did I truly feel I wrote well enough to pull it off? Did I believe?
I looked myself in the eye and amazingly I answered yes to all those questions. So I took my modest inheritance and invested in me. I handed in my notice and told myself I wasn’t going to go back to work until my book was finished. I treated my writing like my job. I got up, took the children to school then wrote until it was time to pick them up, stopping only for a quick lunch and to check my phone which I had left on silent. I didn’t Tweet, or blog, or update Facebook, or go to coffee with friends. I just wrote my book. And I finished it.
Six months later I am still an unpublished author but I feel very differently now. I have the completed manuscript of a novel which an independent editor has judged as good with commercial potential. I have a small but growing number of Twitter followers. And I have a blog. It is called The Odd Half Hour because I am back at work now (mortgages have to be paid) and this is how I do my writing, grabbing small scraps of time here and there; writing a new novel like a quilter makes a patchwork cover. But I am now inspired and motivated. I feel like a writer who is working rather than someone working who would like to write. I have confidence in myself and writing doesn’t feel like a chore to be tackled but something exciting to be explored as I have no idea what might happen but feel more than ever that something might. And soon.
About Lindsay Complin
My book is called Thicker Than Water and an excerpt is on my website http://www.lindsaycomplin.com. On my website you will find my blog The Odd Half Hour where I post about the challenges of writing whilst holding down a full time job.
I would like to wish you every success in getting your first novel published, Lindsay. You will get there! 🙂