It’s a relentless, obsessive, brutally self critical passion I’ve fallen for. It drives me nuts and boy, does it winds me up.
I’m forever guzzling down an exhausting cocktail of patience and persistence. There’s the occasional sip of Eau de impatience that throws a spanner of self doubt in a well oiled, ambitious machine but the dust settles and I’m back at it.
Write. Write. Write. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite. Idea. Idea. Idea. Plan. Plan. Plan.
It’s an ever evolving thing. You build worlds within your mind. You map out entire lives for different people from different walks of life. You’re all powerful. You’re the omnipotent overlord overseeing these stories, master of all and no, I don’t think writers get a weird kick from playing god.
Reality is one of the most boring words in the dictionary
For me personally, it’s about creating. I get a real kick from it.
Reality is one of the most boring words in the dictionary – a necessary concept of course, but still. With all the shit that’s going on in the world, why the hell wouldn’t you want to live with your head in the clouds for a little while?!
My writing journey began when I was 11/12 – give or take a few months either side. It was Peter Jackson’s iteration of King Kong that really inspired me. I think it was the simple notion of all these weird and wonderful creatures. I loved a world like that. I knew from then, I wanted to be a director/screenwriter/author. One of the three. Or all of them. That was the dream.
I eventually cobbled together IDOE. The International Defenders of Earth. It was glazed in Doctor Who and Torchwood inspirations. To be honest, it was a rip-off, in a lot of ways if I’m honest. But it was a beginning.
Life got harder though, unfortunately – as the middle of a story so often does. Depression and social anxiety were unwelcome visitors.
However, my writing gave me a passport to the people I wanted to be as well as an outlet for the baggage weighing me down. Reading my old scripts back, I can see it there. There’s the brash, confident, dashing hero. Everyone likes him. He saves the day. He cracks jokes. He gets the girl. There’s the line of dialogue here and there, essentially suggesting that ‘things get better’, ‘you have a choice’ or ‘you’re stronger than you think’.
I was very much learning as I went. I nabbed a book which contained the series 1 scripts for the returning Doctor Who and it became my bible. It gave me my format. It pushed me into a brand new world. I didn’t have a clue how to write people. I sent these things off to BBC Writersroom but reading them back now, it’s no surprise they were returned to me with a polite rejection. These were people in their twenties and thirties who behaved like teenagers.
Am I a good writer? Who knows? What I do know is, writing is good for me.
Therefore, there’s been a real satisfaction in seeing my writing improve. The scripts I put together now have a maturity about them. It’s reassuring to see those lines of dialogue are far sharper and if anything, more real. It’s just damn neat to have those little details of body language that I never would have thought of during my younger years.
It’s the strength of story though, I’m proudest of. By no means am I blowing my own trumpet here. I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve got a long way to go. I know my writing can still improve a lot more, but it’s nice to feel as if I’m on the right road.
After toppling my depression and my social anxiety, cancer decided to come along (I realise this is quite a story in itself). With life stripped back to the bare bones and put on hold, once more writing was my outlet. It was my escape. And I get the feeling it always will be. If I don’t write for a few days, I feel a bit wound up. I don’t feel quite right.
Whether it’s for audiences of millions all over the world leading to a succession of glorious Oscar triumphs, or my writing simply ends up being a folder on my laptop that only a select few read, both paths end the same way (arguably that’s a more middle ground in there too, but anyway…).
I’ll be building worlds, I’ll be mapping out weird and wonderful lives, and I’ll be writing stories until I’m old and grey.
Am I a good writer? Who knows? I’m better than I was and that’s nice. What I do know is, writing is good for me.