After completing a course in writing fiction in spring 2014, I was excited to start writing my first book. I had the book in my mind for some time, so it was easy to start putting it in on ‘paper’. I knew exactly what it was going to be about.
In short, it is a story of present day girl living in London, whose life takes an unforeseen turn when her teenage love from Rome reappears in her life and at the same time her boyfriend gives her an ancient pendant which shows her a glimpse into her past life in ancient Roman times.
I wrote my first chapters and then I did my first mistake:
I started to doubt myself
During my online research I found guidance saying ‘write what you know’, which made me doubt myself. “What do I know about ancient Romans? Do I have the time for proper research?” Of course I didn’t, I was working full-time…
Then my second mistake came:
I compared myself to other writers
I knew that my book wouldn’t be anywhere near Jane Austen’s… “So, is it worth the effort?” I asked myself. I checked the less acclaimed authors, which wasn’t helpful either. I wasn’t measuring up to any of them and my style was completely different…
My third mistake followed:
I self-criticised my work
Instead of continuing to draft my book, I started to criticise it. The more I dwelled on it, the less I wrote and I reached the point where I told myself that there was no point in continuing and I stopped writing altogether.
In autumn 2015, I couldn’t resist any longer and I unleashed my creativity in full, everything at the same time. I bought a canvas and some acrylic paint and I painted my first painting. It felt very liberating and I was energised for weeks afterwards. At the same time I dusted off my laptop and feeling an unstoppable urge, I continued to write my book. After several months I realised that I had to choose whether I wanted to write or paint. My limited spare time didn’t allow for both. I decided to take various courses and acrylic painting and learn techniques which would help me to express what I wanted to on the canvas. The writing had to wait.
In winter 2016 I found new determination and energy to see if I could find a way to do what I feel passionate about full-time. I started to edit my book again and at the same time manage my time so I could also paint. Months later, this is still working out and I would like to share how my book is shaping and how my painting is going.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso