How it all began…

by limebirdmike

It began on a day like any other. It was a cold, blustery walk to school not long after my 18th birthday when an idea struck me like a bolt from the blue. Up to this point I had spent the best part of two years scribbling short stories in my school notebooks, but then one day it all suddenly changed: I had an idea that stuck.

Days of contemplation and note taking followed as I gradually began to piece together ideas into something that vaguely looked like a plot. It was then I started to type.

Now here’s the strange thing. Up to the age of about 18 I had never really sat down and written anything longer than perhaps a side or two for English projects at school. This though, this was something different. If I’m honest, it completely consumed me. Before I knew it I had 5,000 words. A little while later, I had 25,000.

It’s a strange thing, writing a book, or at least, deciding you’re going to write a book. I certainly never planned to do it. If anything, I was set on going to university to study business. My biggest struggle educationally-speaking has always been my ability to be good at a lot of things. Every school has them – you know, the straight A’s type that doesn’t seem to have to try very hard to do well. Annoyingly, I’m one of them. I say annoyingly, because while to most people such a life might seem a walk in a park. Trust me, it’s not. People look at you differently at school if you’re different in some way, and as we all know, there’s nothing worse than jealousy.

It was at this point in life that things really started to get to me. I got depressed, I got ill; I lost all motivation and I lost all my confidence. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was, and I most certainly didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. When the world is your oyster, and you enjoy doing many different things, what are you supposed to do?

Family certainly didn’t help, and my situation at home wasn’t great. To this day my parents don’t really know or appreciate what I do, but then I guess that’s a matter for the therapist, and not an article about writing!

What I’m trying to get to here, in my oh-so-very-ineloquent way, is that writing saved me. It was, and to a certain extent, still is, my salvation – my small shred of comfort in this strange and scary world.

Being a writer is a strange and very lonely task at times – something I will no-doubt expand upon in later articles, but for me, it became my whole life.

Now I don’t pretend for one minute to have written the next Lord of the Rings, or the (quite incredible) Paradise Lost, but the books that I wrote in those early years were not only an important part of my development as a writer, but they were also an incredibly important part of my development as a person. Writing nigh on a quarter of a million words over 4 years taught me an awful lot, both about myself, and about the world around me, and while I don’t think ‘teen fantasy’ is necessarily my strongest style, there are parts of those books that to this day still fill me with pride.

Why? You ask. Why: because I did it. Because I poured my heart and my soul into those books and without them I don’t know quite where I’d be in this world.

As a tribute to those early days, and my debt to Callum, Kiera, Aaron and Lena, I decided to self-publish my books earlier this year. While my self-publishing adventures certainly require an article or two of their own to explain in full, I do not regret it for a moment.

To find out more about my adventures in writing, why not check out my website. Alternatively, post a comment below.

Thanks for listening,



3 Comments to “How it all began…”

  1. Great post Mike! It’s always great to hear how writers get their inspiration!

    It must feel like such a great achievement to have finished your book after so many years of hard work. You should be very proud.

  2. Lovely post Mike, I never thought about how hard it must be for the kids I envied in school that are good at everything, you really opened my eyes about that. Glad you chose to write though as your trilogy is something I definitely want to read, is there a chance of it being available on the kindle? I know that amazon does allow self publishers to sell their books for kindle but not entirely sure of the process involved.

  3. @Beth: Yes and no really. Being a bit of a perfectionist I tend to look forwards with my writing, so I’m always looking at the next project, and especially with those 3 books it was very much a case of me ‘learning as I went’ so to speak, so I’m not as passionate about them as ‘examples of my work’ if that makes sense.

    Oh, and you *say* I’ve finished, but I’m working on the follow-up now. Having already written a sequel (70k words) and then scrapped it as it was a bit rubbish I’ve been working on a replacement sequel this year, though I’m now doing a MAJOR re-write for various reasons. Once this sequel is done I’m going to turn my hand to humour writing. I think I’m better at that :p

    @Sophie: Thanks. Unfortunately I’ve had nothing but hassle trying to get my book on kindle as it means a MAJOR load of html work on my side. When you find you have a quarter of a million words and each and every paragraph needs to be reformatted in html by hand, that’s A LOT of work. Given that I had to manually typeset my books 2-3 times already just to get them printed, I really don’t have the time or the willpower to do it.

    (I can send you the pdfs though if you’re interested. I also have a few hard copies left for sale if you want to get in touch).

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