Since having published There Is Always More To Say the question that I’ve been asked the most is ‘How did you get into writing?’ My answer is always one word: ‘Invigilating’.
In April 2013, I saw an advert in the local paper the Ham&High for a part-time examination invigilator. When I saw the advert, I don’t know why, but it appealed to me. And I applied for the job. Supervising candidates during their exams. It was nothing like anything I had ever done before. Both of my children were now at university and I was interested to know what they had gone through as students whilst taking exams. I knew that times had changed since I had been examined! What I didn’t know was in which direction this part-time job would lead me. I didn’t know that the invigilating would lead me to expressing myself through a new and different media. I didn’t realise that whilst watching the candidates writing their papers so enthusiastically that it would get my own imagination going. And that it would be during these periods of silence whilst the exams were being written that I would be able to think and reflect about so many different things.
I started to write my thoughts, feelings, reflections and emotions down. I had very recently turned 55 and I realised that I had been married for over half of my life. I wasn’t sure where the time had gone. It made me think about my life before I was married and after I was married. The silence was really lovely in the examination hall. Very peaceful. There was a lot of time for me to spend thinking. And when I got home, I started to write my thoughts and reflections down. Over time I realised that I had begun to accumulate a significant amount of writings and thoughts on various different scraps of paper. But I had no idea what to do with them. One afternoon sometime after the end of the summer exam period I chose to read and share some of these thoughts that I had written to a very close and old friend of mine. This friend immediately suggested that I consolidate them and suggested that I should write a book based on what I had written so far. The problem was that I had no experience of writing fiction. I didn’t know how to do this. Although the challenge did appeal to me.
So in September 2014, I enrolled on to a local writing class to help put these thoughts, observations and feelings into order to make a logical and interesting story. I left the class after three terms because it was too autobiographical. I was encouraged to continue writing after having gone to the class for that short amount of time. The positive feedback I received by reading passages to the other people in the class really encouraged me to continue writing.
I didn’t write the story in order. It never came to me in order. There was never a beginning, a middle or an end. I just started writing down my thoughts, my reflections and feelings about certain subjects which I then wove together to create a story. And although I have drawn on personal experiences this is not my story. I have drawn on a combination of my own experiences as well as those of my friends. I created this story from the ideas that were running around in my head. Ideas that had materialised from my imagination.
I never thought too hard about what I was writing and how I was writing the story. I just went ahead and wrote it. It just came to me. I wrote what I wanted to write and not what I thought I should be writing. I hope my readers will enjoy reading ‘There Is Always More To Say’ as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s absolutely true. Opening the door of my story will hopefully show my reader the mirror of their mind.
These memories have come flooding back to me recently because once again it is exam time. I’d like to take this opportunity in wishing anyone and everyone who will be taking exams over the next few weeks ‘the Best Of Luck’