Thursday, 7 December 2017

An Author's Regret

I am currently writing a novel for the Canadian Brides Series of books produced by BWL Publishing to celebrate the 150 years of Canada's History. Part of the process is a monthly blog post on specified subjects. This month the subject was, 'What Would You Change.'

And that got me thinking - and the most outstanding thing is that I would have listened to those voices of my childhood that said I could, and should write. Not a crowd of enthusiastic teachers and mentors, but the one or two spontaneous remarks which even then I could sense were genuine.

I should have asked those early voices why they thought so, or even how I could go about becoming a writer –  but I was brought up in an atmosphere of blending in, never drawing attention to yourself and where the words ‘not for the likes of us.’ still ring down the years.

It might sound like a cop out to say, ‘no one showed me how to do it’ but that’s how it was to feel something is achievable for others but not for me. I didn’t have much of a sense of self-worth, so I didn’t reach for the stars, only the nearest thing. The thought of ‘what if’ was always there, but with no idea of how to turn that spark of ambition that never quite grew into a flame a reality.

This was, of course, in the pre-internet days when libraries were sanctums of yellow-paged hardbacks and indexed file cards guarded by frizzy haired matrons who believed silence must be maintained at all costs, especially against questions from schoolgirls – so where to start? No, I didn't live in medieval times but in comparison to today it might have seemed like it.

So I floundered, toyed, and touched the surface ever so lightly, but never jumped in.

I began writing late and purely to please myself. During a process of criticism, editing and reading, I discovered that writing is a craft which begins with some talent, but can be acquired and needs to be honed by practice reading, editing and more practice.

The more I write, the more I realise there is so much more I don’t know about writing – or even what good writing actually is. It's  also not how technically perfect you can turn out a piece of prose; it’s about how you communicate feelings and experiences in a unique voice with which readers can connect.

Photographs of youthful, bright eyed young women bringing out chart-topping novels are everywhere, and although thrilled for them – and I truly am - I cannot help a stir of envy of the many years they have ahead of them to write, inspire and be inspired as their careers and reputation grows.

Or maybe it was meant to take this long to find out these things, that I’m simply a [very] late developer? In which case – regret is pointless.

Scheduled for release Summer 2018

Grace McKinnon’s widowhood promises little but a life of drudgery under her father-in-law’s oppressive rule. When quiet rebellion turns to opportunity, she books passage on an Atlantic steamer only to face near disaster in Halifax Harbour.....

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Lisa Yarde said...

Personally, I don't see that you should have any regrets, except, "why didn't I introduce the world to such great stories even sooner?" As they say, everything in its own time, but never doubt your story-telling ability.

Anita Davison said...

Your continual support and friendship means so much Lisa - thank you. And when it comes to storytelling, you are right up there with the best....