The strange and unusual world of inspiration
I have wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. But like most wannabee novelists, life got in the way.
After high school, I got into university and studied journalism, not because I wanted to be a journalist in particular, but because I thought it would hone my book writing skills. An internship was a part of my degree, and when I was hired off the back of this, I thought I’d give news reporting a go, because the whole book writing thing was still way off ‘in the future’ as far as I was concerned.
So I started my career as a cadet journalist in the central west of NSW, Australia. I wrote a lot of stories about sheep and cows. I remember a personal highlight was visiting the cattle yards to do a story on a five-legged cow. I came away from that experience with a deep and profound sense that I needed to do something else with my life, and that I needed to become a vegetarian.
But I was writing up to 22 stories a day, and I was so exhausted that I didn’t want to do any of my own writing when I got home. Because this job was making me tired of words, I decided to make the foray into public relations, and eventually found myself managing a PR company in Sydney for Satan, beset by ungrateful clients and ‘unreasonable’ journalists. I mean, why couldn’t I get a client’s boring product on the front page of Sydney’s largest newspaper—what was wrong with me?
Anyway, I loathed this job. I loathed it to the point where I actually wished to get hit by the L90 bendy bus on the way to work in the morning. And it wasn’t helped by the fact that every night I would dream of writing the first chapter of a book.While I still had the idea that I wanted to be an author in the back of my mind, my job was so stressful that it was all I could do to feed myself at the end of the day, let alone write anything.
You know when you dream, you’re usually in the dream, like a movie, right? Well this dream was so weird because I was sitting down at my computer and writing a book. And I could read what I was writing while I was writing it. Every night it was the same damn thing, the same words, the same chapter, the same computer screen, over and over, and this went on for about a year.
It got to the point where I could almost recite the first chapter of this annoying book that I kept on dreaming I was writing.
Eventually, I got so fricking tired of this dream, I sat down and wrote this stupid first chapter, just to get it out of my head. But the muses didn’t stop at this first chapter, and before I knew it, I had written a significant portion of a book that looked like it was shaping up to be crime fiction. Who knew that was in me? Forensics? Blood? Violence? WTF? Always in my ‘sometime in the future’ musings, I was writing fantasy novels. I had never thought that crime fiction would be in my repertoire.
But I loved it, this book. Sitting down to write every day was an absolute joy. It wasn’t hard work, it was fun! And by this stage I had told Satan to stick her job and was working part time as a media officer for the Government, which gave me the headspace I needed to write.
Two months later, and I had written the first draft of the book, The Enemy Inside. I had written it without a plan, without any plot, and with minimal idea of where it would end up.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a very GOOD draft, it needed to be reworked and revised consistently over the next five years, but hey, almost without meaning to I had written a book thanks to an annoying dream that I was doing my best to ignore!
The second book, Broken, was inspired by a news report I saw about a local crime. The actual crime was wrapped up quickly and the perpetrator arrested and convicted, but in my mind I had created this whole back-story about the real motivation for the offense. Again, I had no idea where that came from!
To wrap up, I am currently writing the third book in this series, which was inspired by a pop song. Weird.
I’ve found inspiration strikes when you least expect it, and rarely looks the way you think it will. But if you go with it, amazing things can happen! At least I don’t want to be hit by a bus anymore!
The Enemy Inside will be release on Amazon, Kobo, Booktopia, Book Depository and on The Writer’s Coffee Shop website on August 8. For other books and blogs, go to vanessa-skye.com