Originally posted on http://www.rolandclarke.co.uk on 14 May 2012
There was a time some years ago when MS had so clipped my writing wings that it was hard to write and I had to turn down commissions to write articles or even take photographs. Even the novel that I had dreamt of writing was a mess and going nowhere – except perhaps to a shredder, one day. Spiral of Hooves as that unfinished opus was called, had taken almost a decade of scribbling and gone through so many plot versions that even the characters were confused – although we all perhaps realised it was meant to be a mystery set against the equestrian world of eventing. However at that point I realised that I was listening to far too much good advise but not to my inner muse whose voice had gone quiet as far as I was concerned.
Any crutch that I had left to help me continue writing had failed so I had literally started to shut down and accept my life in a wheelchair doing very little of worth.
Then in 2009 I met Juanita and we got married. She showed me how to fly again, telling me to trust my own instincts and stop believing in ‘I can’t’. She gave up her life in the USA to be with me and she was the one who took me out of that wheelchair, inspiring me to write again.
Since we have been together I have completed what I hope will be the final acceptable draft of Spiral of Hooves – which probably took 12 years. In one month last summer I wrote the first draft of Wyrm Bait – a cyber mystery set against the online gaming world – which is potentially the first of a series. Then in November I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge – www.nanowrimo.org/en – and wrote the first draft of The Last Leaf – a fantasy mystery. This spring, taking a bit more time, I completed the first draft of Fates Maelstrom – a psychological mystery.
So what about the quality of three drafts written at red hot speed during 9 months compared with 12 for my first attempt? Well judging by the comments of my number 1 critic when she read all four through aloud, Juanita could see that I was improving as I wrote more, which is what I felt as I was writing each new draft. The words came more easily and they flowed in interesting directions that on hearing them spoken seemed to work. Plus after each day’s writing I would work through what I’d done the day before and the daily editing process became more constructive. That’s not to say these drafts are perfect and that is the next step, honing. So of course I am looking forward now to the fun but hard part of revising these drafts – but that’s perhaps another blog.
At least now I know that at last my imagination is soaring as my writing wings have been unclipped again thanks to Juanita’s support – and perhaps my accepting that ‘I can’. As I have said I sense that the writing in these draft novels feels as though it is improving as I slowly learn the craft. I am only a fledgling novelist but I am learning the basics of writing flight and the crutches have become wings.
Never give up, believe in yourself and you will begin to have writing wings. I invite you to join this fledling on a winged adventure with The Silver Scribbler.