My mum’s favourite story of me as a child is of when I started to learn to speak. From age Dot I had been interested in stories… now I could talk, all I wanted to do was tell my own stories. Which I did. With great gusto. I’m not sure whether the adults took as much enjoyment out of it as I did, but there we go.
When I was 15 (or 16, I can’t remember – the ages blend into a miasma of teenage angst) I wrote my first book. It was a blend and mish-mash of horrifying romanticism, half-baked ideas, some amazing scenery and a fantasy world that has endured for nearly 10 years. But it was my very own – chapters and pages and thousands of words all my own. I was so proud of it. When I decided that I wanted my copy of my Very First Book – bound and displayed for all to see – my ever-understanding father took me to work with him. At the time, he worked in a law firm in London, in a huge glass building. I was taken for the day, with my precious novel ready for printing. For an entire day, I ran riot around the office whilst the printing department printed and bound copy after copy of my terrible book. And there it was… printed, bound, black-and-white. Real. Almost like a proper book. I swelled with pride, and my dad boasted that I was the next Bestseller.
At University, a group of Creative Writing students bonded together to make a rag-tag bunch of book-reviewers/writing-workshoppers/gossips. And it was down to them that I got the grades I did, whilst they cajoled and argued and encouraged my writing into something acceptable.
And the point of these stories?
I’m 24 now. I write everyday – whether it be rubbish sentences or full-blown short stories. I read at the very least a book a week. I dream in books. I fantasise about a job in publishing and editorial. My genetic make-up isn’t chromosomes, it’s words, and language and stories.
Do you think any of that would have been done without the help, patience and encouragement of my family? Without that bunch of people who used to willingly read my stuff over a burger and a beer?
My one suggestion, if I’m even authorised to make suggestions now, is that you need to find your Writing Family. I was lucky that my family are part of my Writing Family, and even luckier that it’s grown over the years to include fellow writers. Pestering and harassing aside, they helped my writing, and they continue to do so.
So thank you.