TRUE GRIT AND MY LITERARY AMBITIONS

It has been said that I am determined. I think that is probably true although I’m not sure that it’s a characteristic that reveals itself in my day to day life. As far as I am aware, there have only been two things in my life so far that I have pursued with dogged grit and unstinting resolve.

The first was my desire to be a solicitor. This idea, born in a music lesson when I was 14, shaped my life for the next two decades. It was the one goal that I valued above all others and I single-mindedly followed the educational path necessary to reaching it. The second is my wish to be married and remain married to my husband which I defend, terrier-like, from all dangers and peril and would fight to the death to protect.

Now suddenly there is a third. It will come as no surprise to you to know that I dream of being a writer. I’ve said it before. And I meant it. But something has changed. My ambition has transformed from a nice idea to a driving force pushing me on, just like the one that I had for my exams 25 years ago.

But being a writer is much easier written than done. Yes, I can string a passable sentence together and that’s a good start but it’s only the beginning. What I need is a little bit of help and an awful lot of practise. So, as a starting point, I am conducting a couple of experiments. If I don’t lose my nerve, which I have to say I do on a daily basis, then my Book Group will read my first stab at a novel later this month. I am hoping for honest and gentle feedback as to whether they think I have something worth pursuing. The book itself probably isn’t. It is, after all, a first attempt and not really what I’m aiming for. But my well-read friends should be able to give me some idea whether my quest is, in truth, a hopeless one or not.

In addition, I have taken to posting stories written in different styles on a writers’ website. The first was a bit of a cheat as I wrote it on the little writing course that I did last year and so had an idea of what they might say. They liked it. The second was written in about the time it takes me to blog, with very little editing and in a totally different style. It has received no comments, has not been cherry picked and significantly fewer people have read it. Style one is considered better than style two then? I will continue with this game until I have a better idea of what is considered ‘good’ by them. It’s an interesting exercise.

This is a long term plan. I am under no illusions that results will be had quickly. But I’m only 44. My life is just beginning. I have plenty of time to find my voice and offer it up to others. After all, the literary world is scattered with late bloomers – Mary Wesley, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Kenneth Graham and Raymond Chandler were all considerably older than me when they found success. And anyway, in the words of the man with the beret, “You’ve got to have a dream, If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”! Happy Talk

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