A personal story

Personal StoryLet’s be honest – you are boring. Me too! Nobody, except you and people very close to you, are really interested in your personal story. Unless, of course, you were the first person to walk to the moon – without shoes – in winter! Things that matter to you will not necessarily strike a chord with others, unless, of course, you can use your experience to tell your personal story in an interesting way. The best way to do this is to write a novel with invented characters and weave your story into the novel. This is exactly what I did with Chasing Paper – or at least one part of it.

My own personal story

Way back in the early 1980’s I was running a building company in Norfolk, England. I won’t bore you with the details but, not to put too fine a point on it, my partner screwed me over for more than £25,000 ($40,000) – about £75,000 ($120,000) in today’s money. Looking back, I have nobody to blame but myself: I trusted him and he grabbed the opportunity to save his own business at my expense. It left a nasty, bitter taste in the mouth, but my lesson was learned and I never again placed that amount of trust in any business partner!

What I did do, though, was to write Chasing Paper twenty years later because it was both catharcic and also it had the makings of a good plot. Naturally, I had to embellish the story and then take the main character much further than anything I had ever experienced myself, but I guess that’s what lots of writers do. SO don’t ever think that you can’t tell your personal story. Simply wrap it up in a good novel and let others think that you invented it 🙂

First step to writing

First StepThe first step in writing a book is the desire to do so. I think I have always wanted to write a book. I’ve always had a thought somewhere at the back of my head that it would be ‘a good idea’ to write a book. And I guess that made me the same as almost every other person on the planet who is capable of reading and writing. However, at the tender age of twenty-one, life overtook me and I moved away from creative ideas and into the world of families and houses and just plain living.

Since then, I have been very, very lucky. I have worked for other people and I have worked for myself. I have worked in Britain, France, Kuwait and the Netherlands. My early career saw me learning accountancy. In mid-life I was heavily involved in the construction industry. The later stages of my working life saw me back in accountancy and finance-related matters as European Business Analyst for a major international company.

I’ve had a great life in many ways. Sure, there have been ups and downs. There have been achievements and there have been disappointments. But I could never claim it’s been boring! As I drifted towards retirement, I again felt the urge to take the first steps in writing that book, which I knew was nestling somewhere in my brain. Eventually, I dared to put finger to keyboard and made a hesitant start. At the end of the last century (that sounds like ancient history now, doesn’t it?) I penned my first attempt. It was called ‘Paperchase’ and was a weighty tome of 120,000 words. Then I went back to my ‘real’ work and got on with my life.

The first step becomes the second step

Ten years later, I took another look at ‘Paperchase’. As a first effort, it wasn’t that bad, but I knew I could do a whole lot better. So I wrote ‘Walking on Water’, my second novel. And that was when I realised that all I had been missing was practice. To perfect any skill, you have to practise, and I wasn’t doing it nearly as often as I should. Now, I have rewritten ‘Paperchase’ and it is published as ‘Chasing Paper’. It flows more easily, it’s less than 90,000 words and it is a far better novel for it. Now, I actually like it!

I initially thought I would go down the traditional publishing route but after discovering the amount of wasted time it takes, I decided to self-publish. I am in the fortunate position of writing for fun, not for a living, so I never expected to sell tens of thousands of books. Good job too, because even after press releases and some targeted marketing, I only sold a few. Literally, a few. But what I did discover is that the first book you write will change your life. It really did change mine, as I learned the process of writing (and now I’m learning the process of self-publishing). A while ago, I didn’t have a clue about marketing online. I had focused on traditional PR, but surely the internet was the way to reach more readers? So I started researching about blogging and social networking and other methods of internet marketing.

I have personally grown as a writer and am currently writing my ninth book. I continue to invest in my education as an author and I absolutely
love the online community. Come with me on my journey, if you will. I believe it will be interesting as well as instructive.

My own first step, Chasing Paper, is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both paperback and Kindle.