Next to this text box I'm writing in, there's a blue button labelled 'Publish'. If I'd known it was that easy, I'd have done it years ago. As it turns out, I took the long way round.
I've wanted to be an author ever since I found out that such fantastical people existed. I clearly remember not knowing this. Authors' names were just the first part of the story, read to me in my father's deep, calming voice at bedtime. They blended in with the title: 'The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay'; 'Bear By Himself by Geoffrey Hayes', and so on. They didn't actually exist. They never took a pen up in their hands. They never sat in front of a typewriter, ideas buzzing in their heads. I simply didn't understand that these words meant people.
And when I finally realised that they were people, they weren't real people. They were like fairies or unicorns; I was sure they existed, but you never saw them. Not in the real world. They never went shopping or came around to your house or used the bathroom. They were hidden away in secret corners, weaving words together like industrious little spiders, concerned only with the imaginary world. And they all had beards. I'm not sure where I got this impression from, but they definitely all had beards. Some of them had hats.
So, all in all, it took me a while to figure out that, if I wanted to, I could be a writer. Even then I didn't quite grasp the concept. I assumed that all the books that would ever exist had already been written, so my only chance to write a book was to copy someone else's. I got halfway through the first page of a book about sharks (why that one appealed to me, I will never know) before my parents caught me. Then we had a little chat about plagiarism. It was a blow: I never liked being wrong (I've gotten used to it now). But then they said I could be a writer, I just had to write my own stories.
My own stories?
Yes. From your imagination.
Anything you like.
What an intoxicating idea: books could be created! I could create them! I could do anything, I had total power, MWAHAHAHAHAAA!
I didn't, of course. Not right then, anyway. Don't worry, this isn't the blog of some precocious six-year-old whose first novel has just come out to critical acclaim. (Don't you just hate them?) Nor are these the wise ramblings of a seasoned author, magnanimously imparting her wisdom to the masses as she swans about her villa in Tuscany. (Don't much like them, either.) This is an account of a young woman who, for the first time in her life, saw herself referred to as 'The Author' in a formal document last week. She's sitting at a tiny desk in a corner of a stolen office, an empty tea mug by her side and a grin on her face.
She's excited. She's hopeful.
And she'd like to share the experience with you.