Starting Again

For the past decade or so, I’ve been writing fiction under another name in another genre. Over that time I became part of a community of writers. I built a small but satisfying reputation for producing stories that stuck in people’s minds, not because they were novel, but because, at some level they were true. I grew used to the fact that, each year, some proportion of my output would find its way to an anthology or two. I was comfortable and happy.

A few weeks ago I left that behind. It was not an easy decision. I’d lived with that persona for so long that walking away from it felt like losing part of myself.

Now I am starting again, with a name that no-one recognises and with no community to fall back on.

It feels a little exposed and a little isolated. It’s also quite exciting.

I’m taking this as a chance to take a fresh look at my writing: why I write, what I write about, what relationship I want to have with my readers. I want to set my imagination free and I want to engage with yours.

I like all kinds of writing, not just fiction, so I’ve decided to use this space to run a blog and to review the books that I read as well as to put my fiction where people can find it.

At this point, I should probably be launching into my “Writer’s Manifesto”, setting out my values and what I want to achieve. Except that that’s just not me.

I don’t write to an agenda, personal or political. I don’t write for money, I’m fortunate enough to be able to make my living doing something else.

I write because…

…it makes me happy. Writing is a flow experience for me. I give myself up to it completely. Everything else goes away. There is just me and the words in a little bubble of concentration

…it get’s rid of the noise in my head. My stories often start with a voice speaking to me, wanting to tell me it’s tale, insisting on being understood. Writing the story is a kind of benign exorcism.

…it tells me about myself. Over time, patterns and themes emerge in my stories that give me an insight into my emotions and my relationship with the world. I don’t mean that my writing is autobiographical, only that it is much less random than it seemed at the time.

…I enjoy being read. Once I’ve finished them, my stories take on a life of their own. That life changes with each reader. What they read is not what I wrote. I provide the text. They provide the meaning. One of the joys of the Internet is that it allows me to hear directly from readers and see my stories through their eyes.

My head is full of stories just now. The enemy, as always, is time. Somehow I seem always to have to choose between writing and sleep. I look forward to finding out what I will write next and then sharing it with you.

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