It has taken me eighteen years to write one novel. Well, a little more than eighteen since I started working on it at that age. What I’ve realised is that writing is a process, like growing up. You can’t go through it too quickly because then you miss the good bits. Life tends to get in the way, of course. There’s always so much to do and so very little time in which to get them done. But, that’s the good thing about connecting your writing with your life.

I’ve come to know and understand my characters better as I learned and discovered myself. It is true, authors take bits and pieces of themselves and tag them onto their characters. I’m finally putting the finishing touches on this novel just as I begin preparation for another. My biggest challenge has so far been grappling with the idea that not everyone will see what I see. Not everyone will understand my characters, who, I might add has inherited a little bit of myself. What would that mean to me? If readers cannot understand and connect with my characters, would it mean that by extension they will not understand me? This is what I think has held me back for so long.

Which brings me to my other question. Why do we write? Why do we really write. Is it because there is some validation in it for us? As I mentioned before, we tag bits of ourselves onto our characters. I suppose this gives us a bit of immortality. We somehow live on in the characters we create, characters who live on in the memories of our readers.

I remember the first story book my mother bought for me. It was my first ‘big girl’ story book, not the glossy booklets with huge words and colourful illustrations on each page. It was a real book, hard cover and all – a book of stories by Enid Blyton. I can’t tell you how many times I read that book. Of course, as my appetite for reading grew, so did the book collections. As the books got thicker, the words on the pages got smaller and I became hungrier as all I wanted to do was read and write.

To be honest, that’s how I learned English. Why sit in a boring English Grammar class learning of subject, verb, object, predicate when I could just read?

So now that my baby, my firstborn is almost ready to be introduced to the world, would I be able to handle the criticism that would be sure to follow? Or would I take it in stride and see the virtues in every phrase and sentence? My novel (title will be given at a later date) is due to be completely completed by the end of this year. But that would only be the first hurdle. Once I’ve landed an agent, the real work will begin. The fun part is actually writing. I have no idea what is in store for me. But I’m ready for it. Whatever it turns out to be.

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