I've been thinking about blogging for a while, now. I like blogs. I read blogs. Sometimes, I comment on the things that other people say in their blogs. Once or twice, I've even been invited to guest-blog.
Now, I finally feel as if I have a good reason to begin a blog of my own.
I have always been a writer in my head, and, for most of my life, that's where my writing has happened: in my head. I rarely wrote anything down. As a child, I made up stuff, for fun, to escape; I simply never thought to write down my stories.
I did write a novel in my teens, but I think that was about impressing an English teacher I liked, who was endlessly kind and patient with me.
At university, I wrote letters, lots and lots of letters, mostly to my husband (my then boyfriend), Dan, whom some of you know. I also, God forgive me, wrote poetry; I even experimented with sestinas and the trochee, and other wondrous things.
I did not write my first novel until three years ago, and, even then, I did it as an exercise, as part of my fine art degree.
It transpires, that having begun writing, it has become almost impossible to stop.
So, I got around to writing my second novel, "Naming Names" pretty quickly. I am very proud of it, and one or two people said splendid things about it when I showed it around, so, when I heard that Mslexia was running a novel competition, I sent them a sample of the book. Four or five months later, I was informed, along with 99 other women writers, that my little novel had been longlisted for the prize. That was my first proper milestone on the way to becoming a 'real' writer. It wasn't quite enough, though, to give me the impetus to start blogging.
On January 31st, I received another e-mail from the lovely people at Mslexia. I braced myself. I didn't expect my book to be on the shortlist, but I also knew I'd be a little disappointed if it wasn't. As it turned out, Mslexia liked "Naming Names" enough to make it one of their twelve shortlisted novels. I am delighted. For the next 11 days, I will be telling anyone who'll listen about this small success.
Time is short. On February 15th, the winner of the inaugural Mslexia Novel Prize will be announced. If you are one of the other 11 shortlisted writers, I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope to meet you at the summer networking meeting. If you're not one of the other 11 shortlisted writers, perhaps you'd cross your fingers for me.