Creative Writing saved my life

About ten years ago, I was feeling lost. I was on maternity leave after the birth of my second child and although it’s a given that I love my children more than life itself, I couldn’t shake off that nagging feeling that my brain was starting to congeal like something forgotten at the back of the fridge.

My daily interactions were limited to say the least. There were the coo-cooed third-person repetitive assertions to my baby son: ‘Mummy’s going to change your nappy now. Yes she is. Yes she is!’’

Then there were the questions to my three-year-old daughter on such lofty topics as whether she wanted ketchup on her fish fingers. I’ve no idea why I even asked. She always did.

And of course there was the guilt; the guilt for not loving every single second of motherhood, for rarely getting it right, for having the odd cry in the supermarket. This is not uncommon. It’s just that at the time, it felt like the end of the sodding world. And I felt lonely. And as if everyone else was doing it better than me.

Of course, I’ve come to realise that pretty much everyone feels like this. Luckily I had one or two brilliant friends, who I saw every day and a supportive husband, who picked up the parenting where I left off. It was as good as it could be.

And yet there was still the problem with my brain. It felt underused and that made me unhappy.

I can’t remember where I saw the advert but I do remember feeling a skip in my stomach, which I can only describe as excitement fuelled by possibility. It was an advertisement for a Creative Writing course. I had always loved books – my whole working career had been spent with books – selling them, publishing them and of course, reading them. In my top five of everything it goes, ‘Family, Friends, Coffee, Books, Singing.’ In case you’re worried, chocolate is sixth.

So Creative Writing seemed like an obvious step. I’d always scribbled as a hobby – the diary of my holiday in Switzerland from 1986 remains an unpublished gem in my loft – and I loved to jot down my thoughts and ideas. I love words and the places they can take you.

The course was everything I wanted it to be. The tutor was friendly and knowledgeable, my classmates enthusiastic and fun. We were eager to learn and we loved to write. After a month, my tutor gave us some tips on how to approach a bigger writing project. This fired my imagination. I started to work on an idea – I was about to find out if I had that book in me.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out that I did. It took me two years to finish my first draft and then another two years before I found a publisher. ‘Not Quite Perfect’ was published in 2013 and became a number one bestseller and has since been translated into French. I know. Get me.

It was this Creative Writing course, which not only saved my sanity, but which also brought me a new career. And it’s for this reason, that I’m running my own Creative Writing course. I want to inspire others to put pen to paper and see where it takes them because for me, it’s one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

Introduction to Creative Writing

5th September – 10th October 2018

10.30 am – 12.30 pm

at Biggin Hill Library (https://www.better.org.uk/library/london/bromley/biggin-hill-library)

Cost: £ 149

E-mail: annielyons.writer@gmail.com for more information or to sign up

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