Faith Hogan believes everyone has a creative side bursting to break out.
Everyone has a story to tell. Now, it seems everyone has an idea for a book. Since news of my publishing deal broke, I have met more people who have contemplated writing a novel and who feel that one day…
I say, ‘go for it,’ absolutely. I totally agree, I believe we all have a story to tell. I believe we all have a vision of every scenario and each story is thrillingly, intoxicatingly different to any other story possible.
I think everyone can write a book – I’m not saying everyone will be a writer and I’m definitely not saying that everyone will be an author. But, if you’re willing to sit on a chair and type one hundred thousand words. If you have a story – a beginning, middle and end. If you have a grasp of your native language and the ability to use spellcheck; so much the better if you can hang an interesting phrase or two together. If you are prepared to sacrifice a bit of telly every day, or a few hours’ sleep each night, then – I’d say you are more than able to write a book.
The good news, is that now, you can publish that book too and you’re guaranteed to sell a few copies at least. (People will buy it out of sheer curiosity, if nothing else!)
Anyone who says this to me, I say, go for it!
Well there are many positives to writing a book, even if you never manage to get it published by a traditional publisher.
The first of these, undoubtedly, is a sense of achievement (which arguably, can be quickly crushed by an editor’s fiery response to your masterpiece, although if you’re serious, it won’t set you back for long.)
The second, it’s good for your soul. I’m convinced that each of us has a creative side that is bursting to break out. For many of us, that creative side was buried somewhere between our teens and our thirties. We tend to lose touch with those things that once gave us creative pleasure, whether that is painting or acting or playing an instrument. There is a great focus now, particularly for women, on getting active – everyone’s jogging these days! But what of the muscles in our minds? What of the creative hunger of our souls? Get a little balance, write that book, draw that picture, join the amateur dramatics, go line-dancing, if you must! I’ll guarantee you it will give you an enormously enhanced world view!
Third, writing that book will quickly improve your vocabulary. It will make you think about how you speak and write! We know that improving your communication skills impact on every part of your life.
To write, you have to read, and this has to be positive number four. The act of writing demands you have something to say. Writers tend to be voracious readers, curators of ideas and this collation leads to us composing thoughts into concepts and maybe even philosophies or narratives – I’m not saying we’re smarter, just that we think more!!!
Number five, if you decide to really write seriously and connect with other writers, you will be joining one of the best communities. There is nothing nicer than chatting to other authors, who are normally readers also! Most writers will tell you, that because this is such a solitary activity, it is a real blast to meet up with other writers.
The sixth benefit is you will learn to organise your ideas – or else you may go slightly mad! By the third draft, you will certainly feel like you’re on the point of brain implosion. Being organised is a survival key – you will get there, one way or another!
Remember, there are very few overnight successes. So what if your book doesn’t quite make the bestseller lists? Perhaps it doesn’t even earn a publishing deal or divine that perfect agent for you? You can, if you’re very critical, look at this book as an apprenticeship. It can be your chance to hone your writing skills. To move onto something better, bigger, simpler, grittier… the list is endless.
Or, you could sit happily back, knowing that you’ve written a book and bask in the glory of accomplishment.
Writing is a craft, you develop it over years. I remember, a few years ago, lamenting to my agent that I hadn’t been taken on by her earlier. She said, ‘you’re a baby, in terms of publishing. The best writers only hit their prime in their fifties,’ and when you think about some of the greats, that is very true. It is an activity you can engage in for life and if you love it, you probably will write until you are very, very old – now, there’s a thought…
One man, four women….
Paul Starr is the most enigmatic successful man Grace Kennedy has ever met. He seems to have it all, even a wife at home who understands him. Evie Considine loves Paul Starr so much she is prepared to let Grace have him. Annalise Connolly is rescued by Paul Starr from the heartbreak of humiliation. Kasia Petrescu counts Paul Starr as her only true friend in the world. When he dies beside her, explaining why they were travelling in the same car in the dead of night is the very least of her worries.
It was no secret that Paul lived a compartmentalised life, but he wasn’t hiding any secrets from the people he loved. Was he? When the four women’s worlds collide, it seems they just have to muddle through together. Could they become unlikely friends? Perhaps it is exactly what Paul would have wanted all along.
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland and gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an events organiser and in the intellectual disability sector. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very fat cat called Norris.