The Story So Far

I haven’t updated this for a while due to being crazy busy writing-wise, so I thought it might be nice to take a break and do a post about how I got into writing.

Most writers have a story about how they got into writing- I’m no different. When I was younger, I was lucky enough to have my grandparents live just across the road from us. In fact, I’m no more than two minutes’ walk from my Gran’s house now. While my mum and dad were working, I used to go down there a lot and my amazing grandad would make up the best stories to tell me. They were usually fairytales with princes, princesses and dragons! I absolutely loved them and it gave me a passion for stories that’s still here nearly two decades later. I’m convinced my over active imagination comes from a collision with a Mr Frosty machine when I was five! My dad was in our attic and it fell out, hitting me on the head. Never been quite the same since… When I was a kid, I used to write episodes of Friends and act them out for my family, who are the best audience/support system I could ask for. In fact, I think the whole Ross and Rachel happy ending thing was MY idea (oh wait…)

I’ve always loved writing but only recently decided to really dedicate myself to it. For a couple of years, I had the idea that it would never happen for me as a writer and that I should focus on a “normal” career path. So I did. I went to college and tried HR, make-up artistry and finally teaching. The day I realised I wanted to really make a go of writing was when I was sitting in Dundee University to do an interview for Primary Teaching. I’d been working on Chasing Rainbows (or The Dream List as it was known then) for a couple of months and I couldn’t stop thinking about the potential of what I could do with it. Stories have always set my soul on fire and I realised I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I did my presentation to a group of total strangers and I knew by the time I walked out that I hadn’t got in. Somehow though, that didn’t matter. I went home and wrote more than I ever had.

A few days after my interview, I quit teaching forever. This was the simplest and hardest thing to do. It also ended one of the worst times of my life. My confidence was at an all-time low because of constant nit-picking of things I did by the staff at my placement. It was a horrid place to be in and reminded me of Mean Girls- nice to your face, not so nice behind your back. Everything I did was criticised to within an inch of its life and it even descended into blatant lies. It was disgusting to know that I was being lied about so I eventually told my tutor that I’d be walking out. This was after numerous attempts to get a change of placement and the school saying I had two weeks to improve or I was out! I did have a laugh at that part; the staff really did have a flair for the dramatic. I walked out of the school, which I’m not going to name, and I never looked back. I’ve seen some of the staff since and they haven’t had the nerve to look me in the face. Funny that…

Writing has been my singular focus since then. I’ve battered the story into shape and now finally have my first draft completed. I’m in the process of editing and am definitely going to submit soon. It’s taken a lot to get to this point, but its all been worth it. There have been ups and downs in my writing journey so far but as they say, it’s not the destination that’s important, it’s the ride.

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2 thoughts on “The Story So Far

  1. Joanne Phillips says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Lynsey. I can sympathise with your experience – and decision to quit! About 10 years ago I got what I thought was my dream job – lecturing in hairdressing at a college local to where I lived. I’d been in hairdressing since I left school, and to me landing a lecturing post was the top of the tree! But it was total hell – not so much from the staff (although my boss was an obnoxious little man), but from the students. They were, in the main, terrifying – I had not expected to be having to manage such awful behaviour, and not much teaching got done. So I also quit, and it was a really difficult decision for me, and hard to admit that a job I’d always held up as the holy grail was one I plain wasn’t suited to.
    Anyway, every cloud … because now I love what I do, and I’m glad you left teaching to concentrate on your writing because you are a fantastic writer. 🙂 x

    • Lynsey James says:

      Hi Jo,

      Glad I’m not the only one with a bad teaching experience! It’s funny how things work out though- sometimes it takes a bad experience to show you what you really want to do. It was a hard decision to quit because I’d even got so far as applying for uni but it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Not sure how I would’ve handled a classroom full of hairdressing students- you’re a braver woman than me! Thanks for your comment and the feedback for Chasing Rainbows- very helpful!

      Love Lynsey xxx

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