Why I Write (Seven)
I first heard of Debbie through her excellent book Sell Your Books which is full of ideas to help authors promote their books. We became online friends – and she gave me good advice when I was having my website revamped last year – and have subsequently met in real life. Debbie Is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Alli, and editor of its self-publishing advice blog. She writes mainly non-fiction, and recently completed a second book, Coming to Terms with Type 1 Diabetes, but also enjoys writing short fiction.
Over to you Debbie:
Why I Write
I believe everyone has a natural way of responding to their experience of life. Whether you want to call it a talent, a compulsion, an instinct or an obsession, it comes in many forms. Some people paint or make music or throw pots or sew quilts. My natural response is to write.
Why is writing my particular response to the world? I think one key reason is that I’ve been an avid reader from an early age. Brought up in a house full of books, surrounded by a family of eager readers, I was regularly taken to the public library as a child, so I learned to love words when very young – to love words, to absorb them and to exude them.
During a reading test at my infant school when I was about 6, the headmistress was incredulous that I knew how to pronounce the word ‘pneumonia’.
“How can you possibly know that?” she quizzed me, as if suspecting I had a secret feed in my ear telling me what to say.
“I just know it,” I shrugged, wondering why she was making such a fuss about it.
It will also have helped that as a child I spent a great deal of time with adults, particularly with my highly intelligent and articulate grandmother. Grandma talked to me like an adult, made me love BBC Radio 4 and taught me to be a demon Scrabble player. I realise now that she also let me win to build my confidence with words.
I started writing stories as soon as I could write. Writing quickly became the keystone of my life, and, during my adult years, my livelihood. Throughout three decades of employment in the commercial world, my facility with words has been my most important asset, enabling me to pursue a wide range of stimulating jobs. Whether journalist or PR consultant, marketer or charity worker, I depended upon my writing skills to earn my keep, pay the bills and cover my mortgage.
Outside of work, writing has empowered me to campaign for causes I believe in. Some people run marathons for charity; I write books and blog posts.
I also write to entertain and amuse other people. Some of my proudest moments have stemmed from writing frivolous, non-commercial pieces, such as comedy shows for our village youth club and a script for the celebrations of a local school’s significant anniversary. Penning my first husband’s obituary, when he died after an unexpected short illness, helped me cope with bereavement. Sometimes writing keeps me sane.
Having paid off my mortgage, I now write full-time, fulfilling my lifelong ambition. I cannot imagine a time when I will stop writing. Although I don’t think much about illness, the kind that I fear most is the sort that would rob me of my facility with words. I’d be Othello with his occupation gone. For as long as I can, I will carry on writing, and I’m glad to be living in the digital age that makes it so much easier to write fast, edit well, and self-publish. We can all be our own Caxtons now, and for this I am daily thankful.