I’ve been a closet writer for the last few years and it wasn’t until I did NaNoWriMo last November, that I actually plucked up the courage to socialise with other writers. I surprised myself by making such a bold step and I haven’t looked back since.
Now I’ve gone one-step further and signed up to a 12-week course at my local bookshop. The attraction was that the course aims to focus on your work in progress, along with some exercises to help improve your writing skills. I thought it would be useful for me as I re-write my novel. I hope that having some help and support will spur me on to get it finished. There will also be key people from the industry coming along to give talks on some evenings, dishing out some invaluable advice no doubt.
The course starts on Thursday and in preparation for it, we have been asked to bring along a piece of writing– something we admire, of a quality we aspire to or that may have inspired us to be a writer. I thought about this for a while; as it is not easy to pick out one piece, but it didn’t take me long to come up with something. Although I have wanted to write a book for a long time, I didn’t start to write ‘properly’ until after I had children. My eldest daughter was my inspiration. She struggled to read and never enjoyed any of the school reading scheme books. We had many arguments, tears and tantrums in her first few years at school and I despaired that she would ever enjoy books.
Then I came across some old books in my mum’s loft and decided that I would read them to her. I thought that if I read her all the stories that inspired me as a child, perhaps it would inspire her too. I wanted to show her that there are some great stories out there, if only she would give them a chance. Well it only went and blooming worked didn’t it. We read Heidi, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Little Women, The secret Garden and countless Enid Blyton stories, to name but a few and her love of reading went from there. At the age of eleven, she is proper little bookworm.
One series I decided I must read her was the Ramona books by Beverley Cleary. I had only read the first two because that’s all there was in my local library, but I remembered them. I remembered how taken I was with this little girl and I knew my daughter would love her too. This was probably the most inspiring set of books of all the ones we read. My daughter was so into Ramona’s world that she even modelled herself on the character. She had her hair cut the same, declared she was a tomboy and spent most of her time at the bottom of the garden hanging upside down on the monkey bars.
Don’t you think it would be amazing to write books that inspire the reader to that extent? To be able to create a world with characters so real and alive. That’s what made me finally pick up a pen and start to create my own stories and eventually led me to where I am today.
I took my piece for Thursday from the second Ramona book. On her very first day of Kindergarten, the teacher gets them to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Ramona is confused because when she hears the first line, ‘oh, say can you see by the dawnzer lee light,’ she doesn’t know what a ‘dawnzer’ is. After a few times of singing it, Ramona decides that a dawnzer must be another word for a lamp. This extract is significant to me because I remember reading it when I was a child. At the time, I didn’t know what a dawnzer was either and it wasn’t until a few years later that I worked it out. The story of Ramona came back to me and made me chuckle. I never forgot that part of the book and it was the memory of it that prompted me to look up the series for my daughter. Though first printed back in 1955, the Ramona stories still hold up and are just as fun today. I’m looking forward to reading them again with my younger daughter and son.
My question to you this week is what would you choose as your inspirational piece?
I’m sharing this for What I’m Writing.