I write because I want to. I write because I want to write something good, because I want to reward myself; because I want to look at what I’ve written and be proud of it. That’s why I write.
I think that’s why everyone who writes, wants to write. Ultimately it makes us feel good.
I have wanted to write fiction all my life but foolishly I let other things get in the way. And they do get in the way – a parent who thought that writing and books were a waste of time, a secondary school and a university with which I struggled, marriage and family for which a daily steward income is necessary. Those kinds of things (some of which have been treasure to me), get in the way of writing. They can make you feel that writing is selfish.
What I didn’t realise is that nothing gets in the way of writing if you are determined about it. Like any other job, to do it best is to have the right mindset. What gets in the way is what we let get in the way. Attitude is all – to everything.
I think I must be a very slow learner because apart from outbreaks of writing peppered through my life I didn’t really sit down to do it seriously until I was elderly – perhaps in the eyes of some –distinctly old. All those blocks were more in my mind than they were in reality. Sometimes writers pay an extra price for their imaginations.
Now, I write. Now I do not let my own mind barricade me from what I want to do. Every morning I get up at five o’clock and I write for two hours before the day catches up with me. I write during the day too but that start is my golden springboard to creating stories. Is rising so early, a hardship, especially in these days of winter? No it’s not. It’s a pleasure. Of course some days are more pleasurable than others and there are times when I feel extra good about what I have written; times when I feel I haven’t made the progress I’d like to have made. That’s life.
One of the factors in play when you start late is that the technology may have got away from you. I wrote my first story on a Beechy and Underwood typewriter that I paid £10 for. I sat at the table out in the garden for 10 days with planks over my hands and keyboard so I couldn’t see them, then with a keyboard chart I copied out articles from The Evening Post. It was excruciating, but at the end I used all ten fingers. I still do but The Evening Post newspaper is long defunct.
Ten fingers have been enough so far but today I’m dictating this onto the page through software and I wonder how long it will take before fingers are no longer required – for typing that is. Technologies change viciously. I have spent hundreds of hours in a dark room learning the skill of black and white photography. All gone. I learned to drive a car on straight-toothed gears.
But what I set out to say was that when I took up writing seriously, (The difference being I was committed this time.) there were so many technical difficulties in publishing online and learning the different skills required. I should think I have taken longer than someone younger because the whole technology of computers is one they have grown up with. So once again I have a choice: I can back off saying it’s too difficult, or I can try and solve the difficulties, find help in solving the difficulties, and the thing is people are kind.
So here I am ageing even further at the required rate, but enjoying what I am doing and I wonder how many other people there are out there in my age range who are letting their minds turn them off. Don’t. For anyone who has wanted to write no matter what the age, now is the time, the best opportunity you have left, and good luck.
Desmond L. Kelly
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