Monday, 26 October 2015

What's the Story | Writing

Over the last few months, particularly in the weeks of late, I have met and spoken with different people - as you do. Since the excitement that the Irish Blog Awards brought, I've been asked what exactly is the deal with this writing arrangement I've had going on. I shall oblige and attempt to condense a tale of years of dodgy pens, torn pages and a project forever "in the pipeline".

Surprise, surprise, the fiasco started as soon as I could write with those 50c pencils we all bought in national school and a free copy from Supervalu back in the day. Usual, barely legible scribbles were the foundation of a life long absolute buzz. In the beginning, I used to rephrase and rewrite the short stories I read at school in my spare time. I wrote about the minor things that happened over the course of a day in a small, frightful, fuschia notepad that had those useless lockers on the side. As the years went on and my spelling improved (you would hope), we invested in a family desktop. Little did everyone know, that the desk it was placed on, would be the creative hub for endless hours of stringing words together.

The three main ingredients, I believe make a half decent writer; imagination, a strong back-bone of reading material of all kinds and a deep set interest in the world, along with its inhabitants. My imagination was always tapped into from the get-go, mainly thanks to my father and my sister. My dad would sit beside me at night and would make up stories on the spot to put me to sleep. I always felt sorry almost for every other child I knew, because no one else could enjoy these completely brilliant legends. One of my older sisters and I used to lament about leprechauns, fairies and butterflies. We would go out in the garden at the weekends when she was home from college and count how many mushrooms we could find to predict how big a seance our little friends had. I was never afraid to rope whoever was around to read me a story before I hit the hay. Being the youngest of four by a long shot, this was a regular thing.

I was a different kind of a little person, I loved pretending. I was the type of girl that would have made a bed for her Barbies out of a Dairygold butter box and a facecloth rather than asking for one made out of plastic. Admittedly, I also had an "imaginary" friend for far too many years than I care to account for. This is a common occurrence for many creative people, so don't be having a canary on me.

Many hours were either spent travelling from one end of the country to the other or lulling around in waiting rooms, so I read and read and read. In the early years, I wasn't the quickest on the take with big words, but I wasn't afraid to ask whoever was beside me to pronounce and explain something. Vocabulary built over time, my stories got longer, books got bigger and it all got more thrilling as each year passed. 

From the age of fourteen onwards, I started attending the Scoil Acla Writer's Workshop with Macdara Woods. I wrote a blog post on it last year where I go into it in more detail. It was only when I attended those classes that I thought;


A light-bulb went off in my angst-y, teenage wiring. I let loose with the pen and made a decision to not let my own work intimidate me. I had never been a person to rebel, I stuck close on the curb along with the rules and regulations set before me. Though with writing, I could and still can, push the boundaries. By attending the reading nights and presenting my pieces, I started to make people think, I began to shed the Ordinary Plain Jane facade.

Since then, many things have been documented and morphed for viewing of beady eyes. The brilliant sister, my favourite person, is regrettably not roaming around to read and see me on this whirlwind. I haven't found someone since, who will voluntarily sing Peggy Gordan with me, dancing with sweeping brushes on the kitchen floor. But I feel she always brings a bit of luck. I was awarded Bronze for Best Youth Blog in the Irish Blog Awards last week, and it as just as much as Ashling's as it is mine. One thing I know for certain, she would have kept the celebrations going for an extra "week or ten days" as we say around here!

Between the jigs and the reels, it's been an-going process to say the least. Any craft is always developing, and there's not a day that goes by you don't learn something new. What's the ultimate goal? I couldn't tell you, it's a needle in a haystack. You might read about it somewhere, or hear it outside the door of Sunday Mass. We'll both know then, surely.

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow


  1. This post is amazing girl! Massive congratulations for getting the bronze award!
    Keep up the good work! It was lovely to see how you progressed and to read the journey to success!
    have a great day,
    ~ basicallychloe xx
    Don't forget to smile! :) ~ x