Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Burning Passion to Write

 “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Albert Einstein.

I like this quote as I have always had an overactive imagination, which has always been a blessing more often than being a curse. In fact, it is only really a curse in two ways – when I overanalyse things, or when I don’t have the time to actively feed my thirst for being creative. It’s one of those frustrations I am sure a lot of aspiring writers would agree with – finding enough time to write, in amongst your work, family and social lives. Yet if it’s a true passion, time tends to find you.

I've loved reading and writing from as early as I can remember. I grew up without a television for a lot of my childhood, and when I wasn't outside exploring the world, I would read and write. I wrote my first full-length manuscript after reading John's Marsden's "Tomorrow When the War Began" series. I was only 14 or 15 and decided to write something similar about an invasion in Australia, basing the story around myself and my friends. It was really fun to write and my family and friends loved reading it. Naturally, it'll never get published, but it was certainly a great introduction to writing a novel.

It’s a blessing when writing to be able to lose myself in an incredible story, not knowing where it will take me and being thrilled when unexpected plots appear. It’s what makes writing fiction so rewarding for me. It gives me the opportunity to put my thoughts onto paper and share stories I feel worth sharing, whilst taking me on an adventure of my own.

My partner Brianna asked me recently – “Where do you get all your ideas for your stories?”

My simple answer was – “They just come to me.”

It can happen at any time, anywhere, and an idea will pop up. Sometimes I even have dreams that I think would make good stories. So I write these ideas down and now have many nuggets of gold stored up for when I do have time to turn them into something beautiful.

This said, I’ve finally found enough time to create something I’m proud of in Facing Demons, which evolved from a simple idea and turned into something I didn’t expect but was pleasantly surprised! More on that in another post though.

Another question I get asked often is – “Does your job as a Paramedic help with creating your characters?”

Yes and no. Certainly, my job does lend a lot of inspiration to people and situations. Some of the people I meet certainly have aspects of their own lives and personalities I notice sometimes subconsciously come out on paper, but I never consciously create a character based solely on someone else. I’ll use people’s names (with their permission), usually of friends and family, which can help make it easier to characterize, rather than inventing a character completely from dust. However, the character must always be their own person, otherwise it doesn’t feel real to me, and therefore I won’t be able to create realistic characters for my readers.

Sometimes characters, storylines, plots and scenes come easily. Other times I need some more inspiration – perhaps a different location where I can write away from distractions, or I’ll read a new book, or even do some research on the topic at hand. Complex characters or plots do often require some research, particularly when trying to make it realistic for the reader. I have never tried my hand at writing fantasy, but I’m guessing this lends a lot more freedom with where your creation can take you.

Image from

Words of advice for those of you who have a burning passion to write but don’t know where to start... 

 - Don’t sit there doubting yourself - just write. 

 - Write, write, write. 

 - Write about anything and everything. Perhaps start a daily diary if you’re really struggling for ideas.

 - Once you get those creative juices flowing, it’ll come. Give it time.

 - Still struggling? Do a creative writing course, or find a mentor.

 - If you really did leave your imagination behind in your childhood, write about something you’re an expert on.

 - Choose a topic and just write – who really cares what comes out the first time? You can edit it later. First drafts are always messy.

 - Or, to seriously spark that imagination again – READ! I can tell you one thing for certain – writers LOVE readers. 

Just getting something on paper is an achievement on its own. You can figure out later what you’re going to do with it. I know one thing for sure, as an emerging author it is nerve-wracking putting your work out there for anyone and everyone to read and analyse. It’s like every sentence, every paragraph, every character and plot is a piece of you that you love, and giving the world the opportunity to be critical about every word you’ve carefully crafted is scary.

But when you get good responses back it feels incredible!

Just yesterday I got my first review back for Facing Demons and I was so nervous it took me an hour to open it. Not because I doubted my own work, but because I was afraid that someone out there might dislike what I’ve spent so long creating and perfecting.

And when I saw how positive and honest the review was I felt on top of the world!
Don’t get me wrong, I understand this is just one person’s point of view but it certainly gives some validation to why I write. To get my story out there, and for somebody to enjoy it is exactly why I got published.

You might just like to write for yourself, which is fine. I’ve got dozens of short stories and manuscripts that’ll probably never see the light of day. Not because I don’t want people to read them, but I wrote them just to feed my hunger to write. This is what you should do – feed that desire.

A wise man once said – “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”  - Vincent van Gogh.

If you want to do something, don’t hold back, and don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do something.

I write to be a part of something - a world made up of words and ideas, which are sometimes painfully criticized, gratefully loved and can never be destroyed.

Next up: I will post a comprehensive list of websites and services I used to publish my novel.


  1. That is such a great quote. I'm like you, ideas just come to me.

  2. Thanks! Yeah, sometimes you can find inspiration in the most unexpected circumstances. It's alway there though, if you're looking for it.