Check out my very first guest blog post for the lovely Augustine of Ink and Papercuts.
I didn’t always know that I could be a writer but I always knew I wanted to be one.
Hi, I’m Zelly and I’m honoured to be your guest blogger – a first for me, so that’s gonna get scratched off my TO DO list with gleeful enthusiasm.
As a brand shiny new author I now have the supreme pleasure in calling myself just that – an author. Did you know there’s a difference in being a writer and being an author? No? Neither did I at the start of all this but it’s just one of the multitude of things I’ve learnt in my literary journey so far. And no doubt there’s a stack more which is exciting. That saying that you can’t tell an old dog new tricks?
This old dog, no…..cat (I’m a cat person….stay with me now) has learnt things I never would have considered a couple of years ago! Blogging myself, book promotion, cover design and much more. How fun and so rewarding!! I barely knew the meaning of blog two years back and to be honest I still think it sounds like something I should apologise for: I blogged….oh excuse me. Like a burp.
Since my first book, Fractured, was published just a few short weeks ago, I’ve begun hearing the same type of questions from people and one of the most frequently asked is – what inspired you to write? I imagine if you asked a hundred authors that question, you’d hear a hundred different answers – and that’s because everyone has their own path to travel, their own reasons, their own sparks of imagination and their own passions and purposes.
I was one of those kids growing up that was always reading. Loved books – from the Mills & Boon/Harlequin romances to the bodice-ripping historical novels with Fabio gracing the cover in all his windswept cheesy glory. I read Gone with the Wind at age 12. Adventure, fantasty, crime – all of it. I read horror and thrillers way too scary for my age and gave myself sleepless nights. In high school my favourite subject was English. I had a rough childhood and my escape was always in a book, didn’t matter what kind as long as it was outside of my reality.
I dreamed of being an author. Or an Airline Hostess. Because let’s face it – every 16 year old in the 1970s wanted to be a Hostess – they were so glamorous in their spiffy cute little suits and perfect hair and makeup. (Those old enough will remember. Those too young – go check out Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “Catch Me If You Can.”)
Sadly, I never grew tall enough to be a Flight Attendant as they are now called and my dreams of being an author got pushed to the side as I began to live my adult life – establishing myself, falling in love, getting married and settling into life in the suburbs with a mortgage and a husband and baby. Mind you, I shoved that dream aside because I was raised with old-fashioned European traditions and it was my “job” to support my husband’s goals and aspirations, not my own. How foolish I was. But, long story short – I ended up divorced with a four-year-old son, an ex that was thriving in the business that I helped build, that I even named, for goodness sake’s and boom! Just like that, all the ideological fantasies I’d had of my future – gone. Up in smoke.
So, reboot to a new life as a single working mother. Tough times but it’s okay – I’m just one of many and I did have help, thankfully.
I remember the day, however, when I was moving house and I came across a notebook long forgotten in a storage box. And I remember how I felt as I looked through that notebook – the first two chapters of a completely original story that I had written in long hand. In pencil (good grief!!) And in cursive.
I felt sad.
Incredibly sad. Two chapters written well over a decade ago, pleasantly surprising me on one hand at how good it still was but so sad to realise I had written these without ever telling my husband about them – after all, he didn’t need to know about my “silly little dream” when we had the important matter of building his business, did he? My heart actually hurt as I realised that I had done myself and the ex a huge disservice by not allowing my dreams to ever be spoken of. What a shame. A regretful waste of time. My dreams were as important as his, weren’t they?
Finding that years-old notebook was a blessing. Even though it was super old, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. I kept it, filed carefully away in a drawer full of other mementos and sentimental keepsakes. And this time, I didn’t forget about it. I thought of that aging, curling-pages notepad often and always mentally told myself “maybe one day.”
I promised myself “maybe one day.”
That day turned out to be several years later when a health problem was manifesting in a serious way. I had to close my business down due to relentless, 24/7 pain and life dramatically changed yet again. Now I was stuck at home. A LOT. Losing my independence and my mind. So I began writing – to keep my sanity. Literally.
I started to write about a television character, a guy whose storyline in his show just didn’t feel fully explained or fleshed out. I kept wondering what his thought process was in this situation or that situation and I’d get super annoyed when the script writers didn’t do as I would have liked. I really wanted to be in the script room of that show so I could show these nincompoop people what SHOULD happen.
So that’s what I did – I wrote from his point of view, filling in the blanks, making up his reasons and motivations and essentially weaving a new much more relatable (in my opinion) story for him. And that’s how it all began for me. That story evolved and changed and ultimately ended up becoming my first published novel, Fractured.
Like a domino, everything that happened from that point onwards: every door that opened, every opportunity that came my way was all because I decided to write to keep myself sane. To keep busy And the biggest, most compelling reason of all – to keep a promise to myself.
To keep that promise of “maybe one day”.
All those years of always being too busy, too tired, more busy, more tired, single mummy exhausted, working two jobs, paying bills, working long days, scraping by in life and just plain old damn busy! Ugh!
I know it needed to be that way while I was raising my son but it’s no coincidence to me now that he’s grown and independent, this long-suppressed dream of mine has come true. It’s as if life itself made sure I now had enough time to write; that I was no longer “too busy”. I had all the time in the world now that I was stuck at home. There! You needed time – here ya go…….
I hadn’t even heard of self-publishing at this stage. At all. (Strange, I know – I’d been living under a rock apparently). Writing was for my pleasure, my entertainment, my sanity and my fulfillment. It was just something I had to do and then out of the blue, I was called by a self-publishing company. To this day, I don’t know how they found out about me. But with one question – “have you ever considered self-publishing?” – my little world opened up into endless possibilities. Enormous, gigantic, endless opportunities. Oh. Wow. Really? I can self-publish?
Colour me gobsmacked.
And here I am now – published worldwide and getting five-star reviews.
So what inspired me to write? A tv character, necessity and a promise.
Lots of lessons have been learnt already and the biggest of all is to never break a promise to yourself. It doesn’t matter ultimately how long it takes you to realise that promise, how many years or times you have to try, just don’t break it. Hold onto it. Keep it. Don’t let it go – when the time is right, when you yourself are ready, it’ll all fall into place.
Trust the process.
And enjoy the ride.
(follow me on zellyjordan.com and I’ll look forward to getting to know you.)