At university, I snookered my way into a journalism class because my favorite fiction authors had all been journalists at one time or another and I reasoned that writing fact must have shaped the way they wrote fiction. I wanted to write like them, so in I went. Before the first semester was out I had sold my first freelance piece to a city daily paper and before I could finish a degree I was selling to a national newspaper and soon was offered a job at the local paper, leading to a decade-long detour from fiction-writing.
After achieving several goals (buying house, paying off mortgage with my fat-cat salary) I quit, moved to Switzerland where I am now sequestered in a flat and devoting all my time to writing fiction, but not very good fiction. Turns out that writing on demand for the media is good discipline, but it also makes wandering around in Pretendville a little like drifting on an open sea. The short of this paragraph is to say: My writing sucks.
I wrote a complete novel in one summer (before working at the newspaper), then spent five years editing it, then two years trying to find an agent/publisher, but no such happiness ensued. I've submitted short pieces to various fiction-writing competitions and always come in short-listed in the top 10 per cent, but never made it to the final cuts. Sigh. I came within a hairsbreadth of winning a national journalism award (Canadian Association of Journalists), but only became a finalist. A judge told me it was between me and the winner, and it was close. See. Close. Again.
But close is good enough and so on I go. I've never tried the write-a-novel-in-a-month thing, and cannot say with any certainty that I will complete it. I already have a "serious" novel on the go, as well as a number of short pieces, but with my endless battle against writer's block, it seems that the one-month challenge might realign my creativity such that it merges with my DNA-loaded respect for deadlines, and voila, writer's block will be banished, at least for a few hours.
And if I write crap, so what? What will happen? Will my universe fizzle, husband leave me, children turn away in shame, mother disown me, labrador retriever-breeders ban me from buying their puppies?
- Biel/Bienne, Switzerland
- Walking, horseback riding, biking, painting, talking
- Favorite noveling music:
- Gnarls Barkley "Crazy"
- Writer. Writing so fast my wrists throb. Ouch ouch ouch!
- Favorite books or authors:
- T.C. Boyle, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, William Faulkner, Garrison Keillor, John Steinback, John Irving, everyone