The simple answer is, I write because of the freedom it gives me. The freedom to express my inner thoughts, and the freedom to live on paper the life which is swirling and dominating my imagination. Once written, it’s real, as real as it gets and that is where I get my satisfaction.
How I came to understand fully ‘Why I write’ needs some further explanation.
For most of us we ‘have’ to write on a weekly if not daily basis. This though can often be expressionless writing. A letter maybe to a bank, solicitor or utility company. An email to the school, or the completion of an application form or survey. Unless your job involves a lot of writing the reality is that amongst a significant proportion of the population we are writing far less and far less formally than we used to. Some would argue that sending an email or text is a better alternative, but in my opinion, those mediums will never replace the art of physically writing.
I have a background in policing having spent 20 years as a police officer so I fit into the category of where my job ‘required’ me to write. During my time on the beat, I was ‘required’ to write innumerable reports relating to many offences ranging from minor traffic infractions to theft and criminal damage onto more serious offences, for example, sexual assault, rape and murder. My writing would predominantly support cases going to court either before a Judge or Magistrate. The statements I would write would be an account from a witness or victim and then I would transcribe the suspect interview records and present a nice bundle of evidence to court all summarised highlighting the strength of the case presented.
As a police officer, I was able to see the tangible change and benefits of perfecting the art of statement taking as this was rewarded with successful outcomes at court and favourable feedback from the judiciary. A statement I obtained in relation to a serious sexual assault and attempted murder in 1996 was used some 19 years later in court and brought about a successful prosecution and 15-year sentence for the offender. What I have found though is that the skill of being able to in effect tell someone else’s story is not instantly transferable when you are making one up – from your imagination.
Whilst I was a police officer I never had the time to think beyond my day job. My mind was totally controlled and aligned to my cases and thus my imagination constrained. I never wrote anything other than policing material during those 20 years. As soon as I left the police force that all changed and my mind which had the potential to be overactive at the best of times no longer had boundaries.
Writing a novel, creating characters and formulating a plot from your own imagination requires a skill which is not used in policing, that is freedom of thought. When I started penning the first pages and chapters of Transcending Love, I had no one leading me through their personal experience describing what their eyes had seen, what they had smelt, felt, heard and for how long. The words I wrote were all formulated spontaneously from my imagination uncontrollably and freely flowing onto the page. No boundaries, no constraints. If I wanted a character to do something or say something they could. The plot could change at will. Pure freedom.
This freedom is why I write. In April 2017 when I first put pen to paper for my manuscript, a beast was unleashed with every word which was formed on the blank page in front of me. A torrent of words, feelings and experiences that just needed to be expressed formulated sentences, paragraphs and chapters.
The concept for my first manuscript was born out of personal experience; that of being a dreamer, someone who feels connected to their soul. Whilst like most writers my plot evolved and changed but the tone was set as soon as I had created my first character.
For me writing is exciting. It is not a job, a chore or a must-do it is a desire, a want to and a need to.
There are many varied reasons why people start writing and that is exactly how it should be, no two reasons the same, all as unique as the writing which flows.
John Grisham an author who I admire, when asked why he started writing stated he was inspired by a court case and the outcome of it asking the question “what if”. The “what if” became the bedrock of his first novel Time to Kill published in 1988.
Jane Austin is believed to have started writing for her own and her family’s amusement and Roald Dahl was quoted as saying “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure is why he does it”.
I would like to raise a toast to freedom! And so the journey begins….