Is it a madness? Is it an insanity that makes us want to write books, novels, articles and blogs? You may think it’s a strange question, but what drives us to write?
I looked into what I could find and there’s very little about the actual experience of sitting down and starting, and the reasons for so doing.
I can’t imagine how others do it, or what motivates them, I only know my own reasons and what drove me to take that first step.
I was lost, confused, depressed and I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of the doldrums. I needed a change, so I decided to take a road trip and set out to discover the “real Thailand.” I concluded that the real Thailand wasn’t here in Phuket, it was to the north, over the Sarasin bridge and far away, so I planned a route, booked accommodation to suit my timing, and set out to complete my circle. Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, back to Hua Hin, and then home.
I was alone, no co-pilot, just me and the things that I had decided to take with me, which included my guitar, for whenever I got the inclination to practice, or the chance to play with other people.
My car seemed to respond to my loneliness but understood that at times, it would be pressed into higher speeds than had ever been possible before. The motorways provided an opportunity to open the throttle, and so it was, on those long distances between stops with the rock music blaring out from my CD player.
Driving always makes me think, and I tend to drift off into the depths of my own imagination. I started to wonder what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Retired after forty years in the oil industry, multiple international destinations, lots of experiences both good and bad, and lots of stories.
“Eureka?!” Maybe not. I thought about what my life had become. I spent way too much time in the local bars, drinking beer and talking nonsense along with everyone else. I had to do something to pull myself out of the self-destructive routine that I seemed to have adopted as my way of life, and perhaps writing would provide me with an escape route?
I remembered how I had written the first page of my novel many years previously, then abandoned the idea for no good reason. I wondered if that first page was still on my computer somewhere, it had been such a long time ago...
When I returned home, I looked for that first page, found it, edited it slightly, then kept going. By the time I considered that my story was finished, I looked at the word count to discover I had written over 1.5 million words.
I looked online at various options for getting it published, only to discover that the monster I had created was much too big. One publisher e-mailed me and told me that they were interested, but could I cut the word count, to around 230,000?
So, my first novel then became six as I tried to make the cut in the right places. After many edits and reading it so many times that I was beginning to memorize it, I turned my attention away and recalled my time in Kazakhstan. I started to write about it and three weeks later I was done. I submitted it to five publishers and each one accepted it for publication. I made a choice and nine months later, the baby was born.
“Zhetybay” was released in paperback and E-book format on the 30th November 2021.
Meanwhile, back in my little studio apartment (aptly named “the shoebox”) the sequel “Zhanna” was completed and the madness continues as I now write the prequel to both novels, based on the time I spent in Russia. I can’t seem to stop. Do I want to stop? Not really, I enjoy it too much and I can’t wait to find out what happens!
Madness? Insanity? For me, yes. If there’s an antidote, I don’t want to know.