What’s in it for You?


I received a letter from an old friend out of the blue the other day, which went along the lines of, I know you like writing stories and all that, Emma, but what do you actually get out of it all?

So, after I had a little “moment” of feeling like a complete spinster and having a little cry, I started thinking, what do I get out of it all? Well actually quite a lot. I suppose all of us who paint pictures or make things or write books have something inexplicable inside ourselves which drives us to do it. Put simply, we can’t not do it!

Aside from that though, I have always used creative writing as a means of expression. I’m naturally quite shy and I find it difficult  to articulate how I feel . Writing provides a safe platform to do this, in a careful and considered way. I used to write a lot as a child but this all stopped as I got older. It took a terrible personal tragedy for me to start writing again, and I’m glad now that I managed to channel all those horrible experiences into something positive – or as another friend of mine put it: “You’ve taken all that negativity and turned it into a work of art.” Certainly more constructive that drowning in wine in my book!

Secondly, there’s the immense sense of personal achievement. It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine to write a book and get it published. Putting the final full stop on my novel felt amazing. I’d finally realised my childhood dream. Then there was the rollercoaster ride of looking for an agent or a publisher, sending off those e-mails, waiting for replies and at last getting the good news I’d been hoping for all my life – somebody wanted to publish my book!!! 😀 That rollercoaster continues now, as I read reviews and keep tabs on sales figures. Writing can be a very addictive business. There are worse things to be addicted to in life I reckon!

I write mostly historical fiction; I love the research side of it. It’s great to uncover a hidden nugget in history, one which really fires up the imagination and makes you think to yourself Yes! I’d love to write a novel about that! You don’t have to bury your nose in a book all the time either in order to carry out research. There are so many amazing places of historical interest in the UK. I never get bored of going out and about or discovering new things.

Also, I’m a single mum; my son’s only five so I don’t tend to go out in the evenings. I gave up watching TV three years ago and instead, I spend an hour or so writing after he’s gone to bed. It certainly feels more productive than an evening of soap operas. Sometimes writing a grown up novel seems a bit too taxing, but I also write children’s poetry – primarily for my son but I’m hoping I’ll find a publisher one day for my kids’ stuff. Children’s fiction’s brilliant; you can really let your imagination run wild and it’s a great way to unwind.

It seems to me these days that if you fill your spare time with, TV, gaming, or on-line media, that’s okay, but a person who writes stories or make things is a bit eccentric. Well – long live the odd-bods, that’s what I say! People enjoy doing different things, it’s as simple as that.



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