It’s my great pleasure today to welcome one of my first writing friends, Elisabeth Carpenter, to my blog to talk about her writing journey.
As I child, I’d devour the Sweet Valley High books and immerse myself totally in that world, but being a writer seemed so unattainable to someone like me. It didn’t even enter my head that I could write a story that would ever be published, so I was never one of those writers who created stories from an early age.
Years later, I saw an advert for a writing course in a newspaper two years after my eldest child was born in the late nineties. Funnily enough, I recently found the first assignment, which was to describe why I wanted to write. The first line I’d written was: ‘I want to write because I enjoy reading.’ It was hardly dazzling prose, but it pretty much summed it up!
Embarrassingly, I didn’t finish this course; life got in the way. I was so impatient, then – I wanted to be a brilliant writer straight away. I wasn’t, of course, so it went on the backburner. Instead, I enrolled with the Open University to study towards an English Literature and Language degree. This was a huge turning point for me. The courses didn’t teach the prescriptive semantics of grammar, but how the use of language can tell you so much about a person: where they come from, what they think.
Studying some of the great novels in such detail was a revelation and totally transformed the way I thought. I realised that there wasn’t some kind of unattainable magic required to write a book – it was perfectly accessible. So, a few years later, after having my second child, I began writing my first manuscript – scribbling in notebooks whenever I got the chance. I worked on it for two years and it was never published, but writing it taught me so much. I think with each manuscript, a writer improves, hones their voice.
In writing this post, I’ve realised that my initial spark of desire to write came soon after having each of my children – that strange time when they’re new-borns and you don’t feel like yourself; the real world seems so far away. Writing is a fantastic way of connecting with yourself and to other people, exploring what it means to be human. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
About the Author:
Elisabeth lives in Preston, Lancashire with her family. She loves the north of England, setting most of her stories in the area – including the novel she is writing at the moment.