Fact: Writing is an obsession

I’m utterly convinced that writing is in the genes. You’re either born with an overwhelming urge to write, or you aren’t…

I was, and I can trace it back to the age of about 6 or 7, when I wrote my first masterpiece. It was called ‘The Runaway Tabel’. It went something like this: ‘Wunce there was a runaway tabel and wen you put food on it it ran away. The end.’ But I guess everyone has to start somewhere…

Obsessive writing

While my brother and sister played outside, I shut myself in my bedroom and wrote. I couldn’t help it. How much paper did I waste? How much drivel did I write? I have no idea, but I couldn’t stop.

I was still writing as a teenager. I should have been studying for exams, or helping out, but I needed to write. The stories I produced were dreadful, believe me, but I couldn’t stop.

Then I married, and found time to write between giving birth and working. I sent some of my stories to magazines, like Woman’s Own, and crossed my fingers. The stories were undoubtedly dire, but, miraculously, some were published. The writing fever stepped up a gear, as irresistible as breathing, but sadly nothing more was published.

In 2004, at the grand old age of 49, I nagged Joe into abandoning England and relocating to a tiny, crazy, mountain village in Spain. We ended up owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Spain and selling eggs to the villagers. I had more than enough material for a book, and ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’ was hatched, followed by the sequel, ‘Two Old Fools ~ Olé!’. To my astonishment, my books took off, and the writing obsession became even stronger.

My family are accustomed to seeing my eyes glaze over as I  suddenly think of a paragraph I want to write, or a plot I need to develop. They don’t comment when they see me pacing up and down, deep in thought. They ignore me when I start scribbling at the dinner table. They know I suffer from an incurable disease, CWO, or Chronic Writing Obsession.

There’s no cure, I’m afraid. If you suffer from it, you are doomed to a lifetime of writing. But there are positive sides to the affliction. I’ve never been bored in my life, and my head is always full of ideas and future projects. Also, I’ve made friends with people all over the world. Every time I open an email from a reader, I’m treated to a snapshot of their lives as they tell me about their own experiences. And of course the money is nice, too… (Thank you, Amazon.)

So, if you suffer from CWO, I sympathise. My advice is, don’t even bother to fight it. Instead, embrace it, and you will eventually become a silly old fool like me, with a head crammed with ideas and a pen glued to your hand. I guess that’s how I will die, with a head full of ideas, clutching a pen and happily taking notes as I leave this earth. Not a bad way to go…

One Young Fool in Dorset One Young Fool in South Africa