Having written and published four books of nonfiction (https://mikedaligan.com/books/), I have now turned my attention to writing a novel; something that I’ve been promising myself that I would do for nearly 40 years.
More recently, this was given some impetus when a friend of mine, on reading my latest book, said “Mike’s an incredible writer and this is a beautiful book”. It received even more impetus when I asked my wife to read the opening chapter of said novel “Conversations with my Mother”, for her to comment, “Mike, this is beautifully written”. You can’t imagine the pleasure that gave me. This, in turn, prompted me to return to other things that I’d started; one of which I’ve now turned into a short story. It’s called “Judgement Day” and will be submitted as a competition entry that I’ve found on the internet.
Now the really interesting thing about all this, is that, for years, I’d convinced myself that, although I was quite good with words, well, a book was, that would be at least, 50,000 of them. The problem with this was that I didn’t see how I could actually write that much and, if I did, who would want to read it? After all, it was only me.
Well, as I’ve often said, the breakthrough came when I decided that I really must do this and sat down in front of the computer to write the story of my life. Only this time, I stuck at it. So that, whenever I got up to make a cup of tea, I went back to the computer. Similarly when I wanted something to eat, to do the washing up, put the washing in the machine, feed the cat or whatever other distraction I could find, I forced myself to go back to the computer and carry on writing.
The outcome was that I got into a rhythm or, rather, the writing did. And that made all the difference. By the end of the week, I’d written 25,000 words and realised that I really could write. Not only that but I could write well. As if by magic, words came, unbidden, out of my head directly onto the screen. Even more, I loved what I wrote. The result was a book of 120,000 words followed by three more of about half that much each. All are now self published so I’m now an author and publisher. Who’d have thought that when I was an unemployed single parent on benefits all those years ago? So, why am I writing this now?
Well, firstly because of the sheer joy of realising a talent I never thought I had. Secondly because my youngest daughter seems to have inherited her father’s talent and, thirdly, to say that the only time that it’s too late is when they nail the coffin lid down. So, if you’re stopping yourself from doing something that you want to do, just go ahead and do it. After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
One last thought. Once those words are in print, they’re there forever. Now there’s an epitaph for you.