This year has gone on forever.
It’s been a fraught, emotional, politically charged year. It seems to be a year where people have cut off family members or fallen out with friends over Trump or Brexit. A year where I have wanted to scream with frustration more than once.
A year where I have been sucked into Facebook arguments and been left with shaking hands and a racing heartbeat. A year where I’ve stopped watching sci-fi, and burst into tears when I read about drones, because we seem to be better at building technology than cultivating empathy.
So, I write.
Most of you know me as an author of women’s fiction. I write (hopefully) funny books about sarcastic young women dealing with their issues and being plucky in the face of great challenges. They have a lot of bunting on the covers, maybe you’ve seen them.
But that is not all I write.
I write for me. I write crappy poems in notebooks that will never see the light of day. I write about anxiety, about the overwhelming feelings of being an overstimulated introvert. I write about nearing 30 and feeling like everyone on social media is in a race to marriage/kids/house and I’m sitting there scribbling stories and wondering if I even want what everyone else has.
I write to feel better.
And whether you’re a reader, a writer, a blogger, note scribbler, list maker…if you’re feeling overwhelmed, I would encourage you to write. It is NOT something for the privileged few.
Writers often get this idea that they’re a bit magic. And certainly fangirling over certain authors, I get that. But writers are simply people who write consistently. They create a good story, they may have a great turn of phrase. They may naturally be hilarious, or succinct or good with words.
Or they might just work really fucking hard at it.
It is my main bugbear in life that people think writing is not open to them. That it’s for the special talented few. Because it’s not. People can be magic in many ways, but authors are not magic. Authors are conduits to the magic of a story. And anyone can do that if they read lots, imagine lots, stay open, write constantly and keep self doubt from their fingertips for more than five minutes.
So I’m talking to you, dear reader. Do not think that writing is something beyond you. You have stories within you, simply by being alive in the world. All of my stories have started with ‘What if?’ and I encourage you to ask ‘what if?’ as many times as you want until a story appears. Write stories you want to read. Write poems about your crappy job. Write love notes to your partner, leave messages in your kids’ lunchboxes. Put words on paper and know that in that moment, that is you, there on the page. And be proud of it.
Our world is so full of noise. It’s full of social media, and perfect photos and lives that are through a filter. It’s full of war and terror and fear, and jealousy and cynicism and celebrity gossip. Find the quiet, and write something that means something to you. Misspelled, scrappily written and with truth – write something for you.
Because this is not the refrain of the talented, looking down from on high.
This is a joy for everyone, and I encourage you to take the joy it can give you.
As for me?
In 2017 I’ll be:
- bringing you more books (stay tuned for news in the new year)
- Finishing my studies into using writing therapeutically with eating disorders
- Going down to 4 days a week at work so I can focus more on my writing
- Finding more joy in the day to day
- Eating delicious things
- Dancing. Lots of dancing
A final 2016 favour – if you’ve liked any of my House on Camden Square series (or any of my books at all!) leave me a Christmas present in the form of an Amazon review? You have no idea how much these reviews matter to authors!
Enjoy the final throws of 2016, and let me know what you’re writing!