This is probably going to be one of those blogs, so make yourself a brew and get comfortable.

I didn’t wake up one day and decide that I wanted to write. It happened gradually, over time. It was a journey of self-discovery. I’d always known that the interest of putting pen to paper was ingrained in me ever since I was in Primary School, but it never occurred to me in a million years that writing would become a part of my life; my daily routine. If I do not write, something within me itches. I feel as if my day would’ve been wasted. It’s my daily fix. My kind of therapy if you like. And it really doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write.

When I was growing up I used to make books by sewing pieces of paper together. It is in these ‘books’ that I would let my imagination soar. What I wrote about was never anything profound like ‘What is the meaning of life? or ‘How to bake the perfect cake.’ My writings comprised of drawings and descriptions of pretty women. My idea of pretty back then being long hair, slim, long eyelashes and high heels. Go figure! I also liked to describe my favourite cartoons and comedy characters I watched on TV. That was me being creative and I reckon it was a pretty good start, for a blind amateur.

Over time, my creativity expanded and matured to some degree. My teachers noticed my enthusiasm during English and Literature sessions. It was at this time that I began to think beyond pretty women in high heels and cartoons. At college, I was to take up English and Literature in English as my majors. That is the time when I learnt the fundamental difference between the two subjects. I was then able to progress my understanding of the story writing. The difference between writing a story, an article and a blog. One of my tutors said I could further develop my writing skills if it was something I wanted to do, in future, after having noticed my enthusiasm as well. I thought the idea of me wanting to pursue a career in writing absurd and something not within my grasp, so I shrugged the suggestion off. I had other plans for my future. I was going to become a teacher. In my mind, there was nothing better than being a teacher. Little did I know that years later, I would find myself so hungry and craving to write. To learn more about the craft. To put my words out there in whatever way I could.

Having said all that, the real push came following the death of my husband. You can find out more about that here Part of the story is that one day, as I was in the middle of talking to my daughter about some of the experiences I had gone through, she turned around and said to me ‘Mum I think you should write a book about this.’ That was when it dawned on me. I felt inspired and moved. And that night, after I had tucked her into bed, I sat down in front of the computer and began the first chapter of ‘A Life Steered’. I wrote. I wrote. And I wrote. I poured my heart out and cried as I did so. By the time I went to bed sometime during the wee hours of the morning, I felt both light and emotionally exhausted. I had just experienced my first cathartic experience. As I continued to write during the days that followed, I discovered that with each paragraph, page and chapter, my load lessened. I found forgiveness. I found myself.

There was a time during the process of writing my book when I felt completion was going to be a futile attempt. I didn’t believe I could write a whole novel and finish it, let alone publish it. But, I am fortunate enough to have supportive friends who knew just what to say to egg me on. The day I finished writing the last chapter was the day I felt a great sense of relief. I felt free and proud. I gave the manuscript to my brother to read. When he read it, he shed tears. When that happened, I knew I had done a marvellous job. A Life Steered was purely a labour of love. For myself and my daughter. I needed to let go of the pain and anger for both our sakes and I am glad I did. I was also able to discover qualities about myself which I didn’t know I had, one of which is resilience. I also discovered I was going to carry on writing. In what capacity, I didn’t care.

I am still growing and developing my writing skills. A year after I had published my novel, I started blogging. Posting my thoughts here and there. I didn’t feel encouraged at first. But as I began to experience some hits and to receive some comments, I felt moved and encouraged. I spread my wings and succeeded in having a few articles published in by my local newspaper. Now, the feedback I got from the man who was generous enough to read my work encouraged me a great deal. I began to attend writers’ conferences and seminars where they teach us about the craft. I read books more now because you cannot be a better writer if you do not read others. I note that there are rules plastered everywhere about the formula of success in the writing industry. But one thing I’ve realised is that in order for you to become a good writer, your motivation must first come from within for it is so easy to want to give up.

Writing is a lonely task and at times alien to most people. But you cannot let that sway and discourage you. Not that you need that many external forces to do that. Your own inner demons do a very good job at that. But I reckon it all boils down to your motivation and goals as a writer. I write because it gives me pleasure and distracts me from pain at times. Instead of bottling negative emotions, I can release them through writing. You may not always get to read all that I write because there are times when what I write is for my personal benefit. Of course, it would be wonderful if we could all become millionaires through writing, but we all know there are a handful of J.K. Rowlings out there? Realising that time, patience and persistence help. You’ve got to carry on doing what you love regardless. Keep chasing purpose and who knows, one day the stars may align for you. So, whilst I wait for the heavens to smile upon me, I am going to carry on doing what I love. And that is to write!