• Well Red

Finding my words

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

My mother used to encourage me to do NaNoWriMo, and for various reasons I never got around to it. This is the first year I am doing it.

I started to write stories when I was at school. I mean, admittedly they were terrible, but I wrote two or three books of a series that I had mapped out entirely in my head.

At university, I started with an idea and before you knew it, I had mapped out the series and then the sequels, in my head. And I would just start writing…and writing…and writing. I ended up writing four of them. No editing, just words pouring out.

And then.

(And then).

And then I stopped. I started to work, although I went back to uni to do my Masters, which impacted things slightly. At the beginning this was all mostly due to laziness, but when I started my first full time job in an office, commuting into London, I had less time.

I never stopped constructing plots in my head, but usually there are only a few that I realise have the legs to become a book or a series. When those happen – gosh, I construct the plot over a series of weeks, often going into sequels and prequels. You just know that it’s going to work together, and the characters, and their back history, are just present, existing in my mind in their totality.

Fun fact – I never write down the plots. I have the worst memory…but those book plots? They are always there, so long as I pull them out and dust them off every so often, building and adding to the complexities, backstories or just moving the plot along. Of course, they often morph when I’m writing them down, my head playing a film, but my fingers typing a book.

I’ve always found the process of writing difficult. I had more patience for it when I was younger, but the ease in which I’m able to create my concepts, always grinds to a halt when writing…I want them to leap onto the paper as quickly as I imagine them, but I’m constricted by dyslexia and exhaustion and life and blah.

So, I stopped writing. I stopped writing for around six years. I figured that I was mostly grown now, and the intrinsic need that I had before to put those concepts to paper was lost. I never stopped creating them, of course, but I didn’t have that same urge to write them down.

Worse, during that period (around six years ago) I came down with fatigue. Constant, unsettling fatigue, that took me around four years to be officially diagnosed with something called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME. I continued with a full-time job, and the condition has got increasingly worse. My lifestyle (such as it was!) had to completely change so that I could continue to manage working. I cut back on hobbies and meeting friends. I cut back on the things that I knew would exhaust me more. It worked, of course, but it meant that it was even more logical for me to not write.

The NHS tell you that you need to have significant periods of ‘rest’ to help manage the condition. By rest they mean do literally nothing. Reading – uses brain power and therefore adds to exhaustion. Writing – uses brain power and muscle power which is a double whammy. Even TV is suggested as a ‘not good rest’ (FYI naps are considered bad too).

This year, lockdown year, I began writing again. I have more time, and honestly starting to read more and blogging reviews reminded me that those ideas were always there, just waiting to be written. In all likelihood, I’ll do nothing with them, but that’s okay. The need was always to put those characters (fully formed my head) to paper.

So, I’m writing again. That series I started in university I’m completely reconstructing, and I love it. The first two books and half of the third is already written in my head (although I’m not even halfway through the writing the first!). And I’m struggling, of course, and I doubt I will make 50,000 before the end of the month. But that’s not the point, and…oh gosh, isn’t it fun to write once more!

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