It's a weird one, writing. The fact is you do it from the age of four or five. Letters become words and words become sentences and we illustrate it ourselves with strips of blue sky, green grass and trees that look like broccoli. Case in point: this is something my #2 daughter wrote at the beginning of this school year. Look how ruddy skinny I am! And my 'glarses!' And the fashion forward yellow boots... love it.
I loved writing as a kid - I loved writing poems that rhymed (they had to rhyme) and stories about bears that lived on the moon. But then I'm not sure what happened. Suddenly, school got serious. You weren't left huge gaps in your exercise books to draw pictures, or room to exercise your creativity. Writing became a chore saved for long painful essays that you had to write under time constraints and more often that not in a very hot gymnasium. Writing was not fun anymore.
I'm not sure what happened after that. Writing was reserved for my journal (mainly a lot of angst, lists and declarations of love for the pop star du jour). I wrote letters; long letters to friends and relatives abroad. I think I was convinced by most that writing was a hobby, a pastime - definitely not a career.
So I went on to teach. I loved teaching. I liked little people who made me laugh and who I could make panda bears with out of paper plates. (Still, one of my proudest artistic acheivements...).
Then stuff happened. A baby happened. The baby was fab. He slept a lot so for the first time in a long time I got through quite a few novels. One of those novels was 'The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy' by Polly Williams. I remember loving it, feeling completely overwhelmed with how true it rang with my own experiences. Some time after that I remember wanting to write. Like properly write.
So I did. I wrote a novel. I won't repeat myself here - it's all in the 'About Me' section but I wrote like the clappers. It was like all that writing spark I had when I was seven completely resurfaced. I wrote until my husband had to come into the room and tell me to '...get the 'eff off the computer...it was 1am...I had the school run in the morning...'
In nine-ish years, I have written about twenty five short stories, three and a half novels and one poem. One only poem - it just didn't feel right with it not rhyming. And in that whole time, when anyone asked me what I did...well, I lied. I told them the facts: I was a mother, I used to be a teacher. But I never told anyone I was a writer. Was it a secret? An untruth? No...the fact is anyone can write. It just didn't feel like a job, a career. Not yet. I'd sneak little things onto my Twitter feed and Facebook page. I'd submit to competitions and magazines. I just wasn't a writer. Not yet.
But then bizarre things happened. After years of ups and down, to'ing and fro'ing....a lovely independent publisher called Accent Press got in touch and said they wanted to make some of my novels real. They wouldn't sit on my hard drive any more. You'd be able to buy them and stuff. 'Seriously?' I thought. This was bigger than big. This was my name on a book. Money coming in to keep the kids in shoes. I may have danced.
And maybe, for once in my life, it's now more clear-cut. Because I am writing and there is someone out there who tells me they think people wouldn't mind reading it too. That is awesome. So *deep breath* maybe now is the time to properly introduce myself to the world. Hi there, my name is Kristen ...and I am a writer. Nice to meet you.