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The Diary of a Hopeful Writer

Updated on May 28, 2020
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has written many articles on writing and how to become an online writer, she has been writing online since 2007.

The World At Your Fingertips


September 1999

I've always wanted to write since early childhood and now I've turned forty I've decided it's now or never. No more excuses.

A Novel Idea

Sometime during the past week, I decided to write a novel. I reckoned that by now I would at least have managed to finish chapter one but in reality, I have absolutely nothing to show for my efforts.

I've used a vast amount of A4 paper and exhausted the ink in several gel pens, but no chapter one. I have this wonderful idea for my novel; I'm going to call it "Century's End." It'll be about a house that stands on a Cornish cliff and describes the life and times of all the families who've lived there since it was built at the turn of the last century. But I haven't got a clue how to go about it and halfway through the evening I figure out it'll probably be well into the next century before I even get to the end of the first paragraph.

I must remember to call in at Woolworth's tomorrow and replenish my supply of writing materials. After all, A4 paper is on offer at only 99 pence and at that price, I can afford to waste a whole lot more of it and not feel too guilty.

I have a computer; perhaps I should attempt to use it - if I can get the kids to start it up for me. Technological moron, I might be, but at least it will save me a lot of paper. With a computer, you have a whole new world at your fingertips.

It's now 9.30 pm and I'm panicking because I know I won't have anything to read at my writers' circle meeting tomorrow. I joined because I had more time to spare now my youngest son has started school but maybe I should have waited until I had an adequate supply of material to read out.

Even if I stay up all night I'll never manage that elusive chapter one I mentioned earlier. Maybe I just won't go to the writers' circle tomorrow (defeatist attitude rears its ugly head). I'm sure I can think of a reasonable excuse since I'm a mother of four children.

What are the other members going to do to me anyway if I have nothing to contribute? One lady writes brilliant novels just like Catherine Cookson; another already has one book published and there's even an actor. There's someone who does occasional radio work too. How can I ever compete with them? Will they be abusive or say I'm thick or something? They seem quite a nice bunch so I don't think they'll be THAT horrid to me. Maybe I should abandon the idea of becoming a writer altogether and join a reading group instead. Why make life more difficult?

Excuses, excuses; I'll never think up anything original anyway. It's all been done before, hasn't it? Inspiration - that's what I need - but it always eludes me whenever I have a pen in my hand.

Excuses aside, there's nowhere to hide from this vocation I’m inflicting on myself; even an innocent trip to the library in search of inspiration makes me feel guilty - all those books and none of them have been written by me!

Perhaps I'll dig out that poem I wrote about my father, years ago but it'll probably take all night to find. I could read it tomorrow. It's a funny poem - or at least I thought it was when I wrote it. Pam Ayres, you'll soon have a rival.

All these years I've been scribbling away quite effortlessly in my page-a-day diary, like some latter day Samuel Pepys but now I've plucked up the courage to join the local writers' circle I seem to be lost for words. "Scriveners' palsy" is apparently the correct terminology (just posh for writers' block).

Ever since I joined the group a few weeks ago my husband has been jokingly telling his friends that I'm learning to write. "Left it a bit late hasn't she?" they inquire with a snigger. He just loves giving people the impression that I have two brain cells less than a cabbage.

My eldest daughter was helpful at first when I revealed the plot of my novel but then she decided to change the characters and sequence of events so drastically that I lost my temper altogether: "Look, whose darn book is this anyway?"I shouted at her vehemently as I hurled a block of A4 paper in her direction.

I read the synopsis of my novel to my husband the other night and his entire critical appreciation of it was summed up concisely in two words: "It's crap." This resulted in me throwing it all in the waste paper basket which is why I have nothing to read at the writers' circle tomorrow.

Authors note. First novel eventually completed several years later in April 2001 but as yet still unpublished well into the 21st century.

All these books and none of them have been written by me!

— Stella Kaye

Thank Goodness For Computers and the Internet!


© 2015 Stella Kaye


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