When I first came to Holland I was on an extended holiday or so it seemed. I never visualised myself being here for ten years or more. After teaching driving I found it hard to know where my life was going. I wasn’t forced to leave the UK but on the other hand, my arm was twisted. I had a successful business so why should I want to leave it?
After 25 years of hard graft I thought perhaps this was the right time to go. Hubby had a new job and ‘have wife – will travel’ came to mind. So I gave it all up. After exploring Holland for a few months and moving house again to a place of our own, I wrote a couple of magazine articles which were published. I continued to write and realised this was a path I should test. One day, for reasons I’ll never understand, I sat down and began to write the first draft of a 120k word novel. It took me eight weeks.
Looking back I suppose it was a brave thing to do and during the writing I experienced emotions I never knew existed within me. I cried with my characters, laughed with them and got dreadfully involved in their lives. For the first time ever I allowed myself to live in this fantasy world for a couple of months. When I look back I think it was sheer relief from working all my life to having nothing to do. An odd sensation believe me!
If I knew then what I know now, I might never have done it. But I did. Six years on and more drafts and deletion of whole chapters and a new title, the book is now looking much better and now stands at 94K words. You see, you can write a book, but it’s how you write it that counts the most. The way of things. The Show/Tell, the grammar and style, the character points of view. It took me ages to grasp. When I finally got the idea, I knew I stood a better chance of finishing the book. My grammar has always been Yorkshire style – perhaps cultural. My spelling was always excellent and I could touch type.
The one thing I learned is that it’s worth spending money on a writing course. I was fortunate enough, at that time, to make investments in my writing and paid professional authors to show me the way forward. It was worth every penny. I had my worked checked and through this I learned so much more.
Author Katie Fforde told me at a recent conference, it took her 8 years to get published and now she is a successful writer with many books to her name. So stay determined because one day it will happen, never give up and when you feel like giving up there is always self publishing to consider. Perhaps that’s a subject for another time.