I recently took the decision on reaching sixty that I would give up a highly successful and lucrative senior role with the world’s second largest and most creatively awarded PR agency to pursue my dream of being a writer. Mad, some people have told me.
To inject some discipline and learning into my random and chaotic attempts at having a writer’s life I enrolled on a part-time MA in Creative Writing at the University of Winchester, and am enjoying every minute.
This week we had a real treat, when an alumni of the course, now with two successful, critically acclaimed and internationally published literary novels under her belt and a third in the wings: Claire Fuller (Swimming Lessons, Our Endless Numbered Days).
Swimming Lessons, her latest book, is an intricately and beautifully structured reflection on family love and loss. I asked her if she knew her ending from the start. She did not. She said she “wrote forward” and watched where her characters drove the plot.
She gave us a great quote on the writing journey – forgive me I have forgotten the source;
Writing is like driving a car at night. You can’t see beyond the beam of your headlights but you can get to the end of your journey that way.
Bit like life really. We all have our desires, our life goals, but most of the time we don’t have a bloody clue how we are going to reach them.
Keep focussed on the headlight beam.