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Monday, June 17, 2013

The journey of writing Road Wench - Part One

HOW I WROTE ROAD WENCH ‘Write what you know’. Good advice. As a writer, knowledge of a subject enables you to write with authority and thus believability. Research may well be required to ensure authenticity, but knowing your subject matter already gives you a heads up on the rest. I’d always wanted to write something. The only problem was – what? I loved writing at school, but like so many people writing for enjoyment dropped away as I headed to university, swamped with assignments and more inclined to use my free time for more sociable pursuits. I moved from university into law, and the available free time reduced considerably. It didn’t bother me, as I was waiting. Surely something interesting would happen? Something that would be worth writing about. I also had another piece of advice that I had latched onto. When my sister was in Grade 7, her class won the MS Readathon Challenge. Their prize was a daytrip from their country school to Perth, and they got to meet author Roald Dahl. I was beside myself in envy. ‘It’s not fair. I’m the one who wants to be a writer,’ I whined to my mother – who, I might add, got to accompany my sister and was immune to my pleas. My sister returned, somewhat underwhelmed. ‘How was he?’ I asked, full of anticipation. Okay I guess. He was a bit grumpy.’ That took the air out of my balloon. Somewhat deflated, I picked up when mum chimed in. ‘I told him my other daughter wanted to be a writer, and asked him for his advice.’ What did he say?’ I asked, once again transfixed. He said don’t bother writing anything until you’re 25.’ Mystified but grateful, I took that snippet of advice, and used it as my get-out clause. Sure, I wanted to be a writer, but it was okay, there was no point writing anything. Roald Dahl had said so. I have a tendency to over-analyse, so I pondered on the nugget of advice and its multitude of meanings. Surely he meant that you don’t know anything about life until a quarter of a century on the planet? I decided that was it. I proceeded to live my life without giving writing another thought. After all, I was doing one of the most important things – research.

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