Why Write? Rob Shackleford
Author of ‘Traveller Inceptio’
My Writing Background
I have been writing for quite a few years. While I was heavily engaged in academic and business writing, to be a more literary writer was never a fondly nurtured dream. Sure, I studied Journalism at Uni and did well enough in the academic evaluations to result in a couple of degrees.
But real writing is quite a different creature.
Initially, I wrote because I was depressed. I had been ripped off by a crooked business partner and was at a loose end. Things weren’t going well and, to my relief, I had a story run through my mind that needed to be documented.
My process might be best described by the great American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou who said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Yes, the story simply had to come out. That poor little illegitimate child had to be born.
After a few years of paranoia and stumbling research, Traveller Inceptio was finally published. Because the novel lends itself to a sequel, book 2 and 3, Traveller Probo and Traveller Manifesto, have been written and are being polished up.
I hope they will also see the light of day.
So, why write?
Famous authors all have their reasons as to why they write. In the end, it’s all about exposing your very soul for critique and ridicule. It seems a bizarre panacea for depression or emotional struggle, doesn’t it? Writing can be pretty scary stuff.
I have spoken to literally dozens who want to write, have a germ of an idea, and attend writers meetings and groups, but won’t ever begin. There are always excuses, but in the end, the time must come for a budding writer to finally throw caution into the air and give it a go!
Here are what I hope are a few helpful pointers:
Overcome your doubts – to actually write the first few words takes a lot of courage. I was terrified that someone would be writing the very same story, only doing much better at it. No matter, keep going!
In today’s computerised age, writing can be much easier. But stick to a format you enjoy the most. Typewriter, or even by hand, is fine if that suits you.
Learn to write proper – this often comes with practice. It’s like anything really. The more you write, the more experienced you become. Also, read a lot. Through reading, you can gain insight into writing formats and the language of writing. There are a lot of brilliant styles. Pick
one that suits you.
Understand that your story will develop as you write – I stress the importance of not necessarily having your full story in mind before you write. Start with something and then just go for it! The story will often unfold before you. Often as I am writing I realize the story unfolding in a direction I didn’t anticipate. It felt as if someone else was writing. I was as surprised as anyone.
Also, you can always go back and rewrite a bad page or chapter. If you are like me, you will do that often.
Write short stories as you write your book – short stories are great practice. A few of my short stories were stored away and forgotten, to be later developed into another book. I understand Stephen King does that often. Don’t throw those crazy old ideas away.