I didn’t expect to write my first post on this blog in the wake of being shortlisted for Listowel Writers week but I suppose that is a sign of how unexpected my writing life has been this year.
I have written in one form or another since I was a child. Snippets of ideas and characters swirling in my brain, lulling me to sleep at night as they crawl into bed beside me, their half formed fingers massaging at my brain and following me into my dreams. And yet while I scribbled away, developing whole worlds to play in, I never had the belief to commit my world to paper. The idea of sharing it with anyone but a select few friends or perhaps in the few writes group I attended seemed… impossible, foolhardy, perhaps even arrogant. I laugh now when I think of it but still there is this neon sign heavy over my head of not feeling ‘Good Enough’.
This year I decided to make a change. For too long my mind was the rush of waves constantly trying to reach the shore of my creativity only to be pulled away. I found a new writers group, new friends, new inspiration. The creatures in my head now clamouring for attention. Demanding to be heard. And so as I put pen to paper I was rekindled. My love igniting from the inside and while I still felt the neon sign over my hear it was overshadowed by the brightness of the stories springing from my mind.
A brightness that lead me to enter a piece into Listowel for the first time ever. An exercise I enjoyed immensely even as the hours of rewrites and editing piled up. The maximum word count eating away at my carefully crafted prose. It was fun because it didn’t have to mean anything. Even as I sent it off my main thought was that I was happy with it but I didn’t have to think about it again.
To be short-listed is exhilarating. I feel honoured and overwhelmed. It took a few days to sink in. And then a few more days to become comfortable with people asking me about it. From work colleagues to family and friends. My natural shyness warring with the duel emotion of modesty and pride.
Now, as is always the question, people want to know what is next. I’m glad to say I’m excited to find out too.