You’re Never As Useless As You Think You Are

Some of you may be aware that I’m writing a book. It’s a supernatural fantasy set in Belfast which covers a lot of the themes that I blog about; mental illness, homelessness, faltering faith to name but a few. It’s heroes are deeply flawed outcasts on the fringes of society. They have been rejected by a world that now requires them in order to save it. As individuals they are a pretty motley crew. But together they are a whole different prospect.

I’ve recently completed the first draft. 120,000 words which I have written here, there and everywhere over the last six months. On the train, in the garden, even in bed. It has been very difficult given my many other commitments and it has been a case of an hour here and an hour there whenever I have had some spare time. There has been no great plan or strategy. I have just written the story as it has unfolded in my mind.

What I lack in talent I make up for in stubbornness. You can blame good old Mr. OCD for that one. I have refused to give up even though I have been tempted to many times. It’s rubbish, it will never be published, everyone is going to hate it and you will be a laughing stock; all these thoughts have trundled through my mind on a regular basis. Yet somehow I have persevered and here I am six months later with a first draft in my hands.

Fionnuala and the kids have, as ever, been incredibly supportive, patient and encouraging. Beyond them the reception has not been quite as rapturous. I have mentioned it to a number of friends who have either quickly changed the subject or in, some instances, completely ignored it. It’s as if they are either embarrassed at me daring to have this dream or dismiss it as the most preposterous idea they have ever heard. Such conversations have been disheartening and off putting.

There have been a few exceptions thankfully. Our friend, Rosie, for example who has been so excited about the project that at times I have worried her head might explode. Her enthusiasm has more than made up for others who….well….frankly don’t care. I hope I get the opportunity to prove them wrong. I like proving people wrong. It’s a novelty after a lifetime of proving them right. Just like those who raised eyebrows whenever I said I wanted to run a marathon, start a blog etc etc etc.

Another person who I know would have believed in me is my late father. Earlier this year my mother told me that he had dreamt of writing a novel and had actually once started a manuscript. He never got the opportunity to complete it so I guess I’m doing this for him as well. He turned his life around and achieved incredible things in his latter years. I hope I can emulate him for I know he would have been 100% behind me.

It was with some trepidation therefore that I started the second draft a week ago. I was editing words I had written six months ago. What if it made no sense? What if it was utter nonsense? I was almost too scared to start and considered placing it on the shelf for another day. But something made me persevere. And 20,000 words later guess what? It’s actually alright. Granted it still needs a lot of work but I haven’t been cringing with embarrassment as I’ve gone through it.

Never be afraid to pursue a dream. To try a new activity. To learn a new skill. You might have convinced yourself a million times that it’s pointless but do it anyway. For you will never be as bad at it as you thought you would be. You might even be quite good. Or very good for that matter. I’m not quite sure where I am on this scale. I hope I’m good enough. Either way, I’m going to find out. As should you. For a little talent, a lot of hard work and the right people supporting you can take you a long, long way.

Where are you with regards pursuing your dream?

Do your friends and family support you or throw a wet blanket over your plans?

45 thoughts on “You’re Never As Useless As You Think You Are

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  1. That’s a great example for people to follow, showing and sharing what you’ve done and the process to get there. I really enjoyed reading that. I can’t imagine how daunting it must be to talke a project of that size.

    Good luck with it all and not matter what happens you’ve clearly accomplished something massive and extremely important to you.

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  2. I found this post inspiring! I too have some books in me and I have just started to get them down on paper, so I am right there with you in spirit. Please don’t let the lack of enthusiasm from others deter you. I have found that most people are too mired down in their negative, boring, aimless, follow the crowd lives to even think of doing something like writing a novel. When they hear about others actually doing it, it makes them uncomfortable. ( I also think that some people believe that new authors are wasting their time because it is very difficult to get published. They are not aware of all the self-publishing options out there).

    I also like the subject of your novel and, yes, I would buy it! Keep following your dream. =)

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  3. You *did* write a post about your late father and it was lovely, absolutely lovely. Friends can be an odd bunch. I do think that there are those who like everything and everyone to remain the same. They like you where you are. I had a girlfriend who was foul, utterly foul when I told her that I wanted to meet someone and yes, one day even get married again. I had been on my own for 10 years and struggled, but that is where she liked me … just a little bit below her. It made her feel good. Your book *will* be grand, it will be fabulous! Kx

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      1. Ahhh, well in that case, it will never be as bad as you imagine. I am pessimistic by nature but also very hopeful (I have no idea how that works, but it does) and the advantage to worrying, fearing, panicking about something is that it’s never in reality as bad as we had imagined.

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  4. Inspiring. Refreshing. Beautiful.
    Also – did you know one of your friends who reads your blog is a professional technical editor and would happily (and free of charge) give you a bit of feedback if you asked? Yep – I would.
    Please keep writing.

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  5. Keep writing and going after your dreams. I am a reader so I will be on the first of buy your book. I too want to write, I haven’t even began to put words to paper other than blogging, but I can’t wait to write the first page of my own book one day. Forge forward??

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    1. Thank you for your support. That’s what keeps me going. I think you just have to write. You can only think and plan for so long. I got the idea for the book last summer but kept putting it off until November until Fionnuala suggested I take a week off work. That week I wrote 14,000 words. It’s all about taking the plunge and writing even if it’s not very good to start with.

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