OMG I wrote a book - My new boyfriend


So, I've mentioned once or twice that my husband and I are separated. The rumours are true, this process sucks butt. It's like doing a triathlon wearing a weighted vest and then just when you think you've reached the finish line, someone chucking in a spin class for good measure. When things first started to unravel, I had altogether too many thoughts in my head and so I started to write. I wrote about a woman separating from her husband because I thought that creating a positive ending for her could help me write my own. Also it was nice to remind myself that many people had it much worse than me, even if some of those people are fictional.

They say that relationships come along when you're not looking for them and that was true for me, however the partnership I found was not with a man but with my book. And like all good relationships it helped me to grow in ways I had never expected. I was writing this book when I saw a tweet promoting Write Now Live 2016, a competition aimed at helping members of under-represented communities become published. I decided to enter because, why not? Pre-separation me would have had a smorgasbord of why nots - they might laugh; I might lose confidence; I might fail, worse I might succeed... but at that time I thought, what more have I got to lose? What could be worse than hiding in my spare bedroom in tea stained pyjamas, listening to John Waite on repeat? Not much, my friends, not much.

I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and then I put those words out into the world and what happened of my book boyfriend? Reader, I married him. In March of this year I received an email telling me I had been selected for the Write Now mentoring scheme with my novel 'The List' and I am now in the throes of shaping both my words and my self belief. 

In case you're starting your own creative project here's the three reasons why I think this relationship thrived, when my other novel attempts have failed to take hold:

1) I didn't censor myself
'Write what you know' is a truth because good writing feels real and it's just easier to make things feel real if they are real. This book isn't about my divorce because I respect my son's father too much and also because it would be a very boring read - Once upon a time there was a couple who were dedicated to each other but realised they needed different things and gently unpicked their relationship, always ensuring their child was their first priority. The End. Bestseller, no? In my book the facts aren't true but the emotions are. Fear, loss, hope - I know about those, so I wrote about them. 

2) I played to my strengths
I'm funny. Writing that is a very big deal. I'm generally very British about bigging myself up; in the UK having good self esteem is extremely distasteful. Creativity, however, has no time for being coy. If you want to make your best work you have to embrace what you've been given. I'm no poet, I have no idea when to end a thought ever, and why not just stick in loads of commas and have the entire piece be one great, big, brain mashing sentence? I know how to bring the banter though and in 'The List' I bring it hard. 

3) I set it free
This is the big one. You can create and create 'til the cows come home (Where have they been? God, even cow's have a better social life than me) but if you don't put it 'out there' it stands to reason that it's never gonna be seen. As they say, if a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to hear it, who the hell cares? So if you've got a book or a project or a business you've been dreaming about, just go for it. Walk hand in hand along the sand with it. Maybe you'll fall in love, maybe you'll start a life together, maybe this analogy has well and truly run its course. I don't care because tonight I've got a hot date with my laptop. 

Write Now 2017 is open for applications until 16th July. If you're a writer from an under-represented community head to the website to apply
What have you got to lose?

8 comments

  1. That's great that you put yourself out there and it worked out! I think more people need to do things like this, what's the worst that can happen?

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  2. That's great that you're doing something so inspiring - I wish you all the luck :)

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  3. Congratulations! Your new boyfriend sounds hot...can't wait to meet him ;)

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  4. Oh my goodness Charlene that is amazing news congratulations what an exciting adventure to have married your book boyfriend ;) x

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  5. This is so inspiring. I love hearing about people taking their experiences and emotions and creatively making something out of it. In my eyes the stories are always that much better knowing it comes from real emotion. Well done.

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  6. I love this, what an inspirational story! I love hearing about peoples personal experiences too!

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  7. Sometimes you just need that kick up the bum to do something for yourself. Good luck in the competition

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  8. Good luck and well done for sharing. Life can be difficult but taking something positive from it is great if possible

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