Do You Need To Write?

Clearing out a corner of the cabin in our garden from which I work, I recently rediscovered the novel that I wrote when I was aged 21, in 1988.

It’s a complete first draft entirely typed out onto a portable typewriter that I bought as a student.

It was interesting to read it again. It is terrible, but without it, I would not have written my subsequent novels. There was, however, a gap of over 20 years before I started writing fiction again.

My Muzzy Head

In 2010 I went to the GP with what she termed a muzzy head. She suggested we take some blood test to see what might be wrong with me.

I went back for the results two weeks later, and she was pleased to report that they come back clear and there was nothing wrong. She waited for me to leave.

I said that whilst I was pleased she had found nothing wrong, I still have my muzzy head. I mentioned that one website suggested that it might be a mild form of depression.

The doctor gave me a form to take home and fill out. She asked me to bring it back completed two weeks later.

I will never forget sitting at the kitchen table as I unfolded this tatty and much photocopied piece of paper, headed ‘Depression Questionnaire’.

The first question asked: how many times a week do you feel like killing yourself?

Noticing What Was Missing

Around that time, a friend, who was training to be a life coach, asked if I would be a guinea pig for her to practice on. I confess I was a little cynical, but agreed to help her out.

Those three sessions changed my life. We realised that the one thing I felt I wanted to do I was not doing, and that this was what was causing me the depression.

Filling The Void

So I started writing again. I created the space by taking Wednesdays off, and began writing what became my first novel, A Bridge Of Straw, published three years later.

Six months after I started writing again, I realised that the muzzy head had gone.

I truly believe that to write something great first of all I need to write quite a lot of rubbish. Neil Finn calls it the rule of 9 – out of every 10 songs he write, 9 aren’t very good, and 1 is. But he has to write those 9 to get to the 1.

I’m glad that I finished that novel when I was 20, and I have no regrets about stopping until I felt I had something to say.

I do wish, however, I had restarted earlier!

Written by : Chris Budd

Chris Budd

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