I want some more

When Stef asked if I would like to write a guest post for her blog I jumped at the chance. I was honoured to be asked though a little daunted when she mentioned that the theme was Inspired to Write. I had an attack of the horrors. Who inspired me to write?

I didn’t have one of those English teachers at school. They were more interested in making sure pupils didn’t attack each other rather than inspiring any of us. I can’t remember the name of my English teacher or even whether they were male or female whereas I can clearly remember my teachers for Maths, Geography, Sciences, Craft Design Technology …

No, school didn’t inspire my writing.

I wrote three books during my early adult life and whilst my family didn’t exactly discourage me from writing, I still felt isolated and alone. My chances of being a writer back then were just a pipe-dream and that pattern continued for many years.

So what changed?

In 2005, I wrote a book and, like many writers, when I finished it I decided to hide it in a drawer. I would see it now and then, take it out and flick through the pages, but I lacked the confidence to take the story forward. The thought of editing 100K words was too daunting so it would go back into the drawer.

“One day I’ll do something with that,” I kept telling myself.

The ‘one day’ arrived three years ago when my wife, Joanne, forwarded me an email from our trade-union. They were offering members a free 12-week ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course with The Open University.

We had talked about me doing courses in web design or mathematics, but she reminded me that I was always talking about being a writer and having my books published. She encouraged me to sign up and give my writing a chance. What did I have to lose?

The 12-week course led to a two-year Diploma in Creative Writing. For the first time, people were reading my work. The tutors and fellow students said nice things about my stories and it gave my confidence a boost. I felt like I was finally finding my voice.

Joanne supported me along the way by reading my work and making suggestions on how to improve the stories. She has a fantastic eye for detail and this has helped bring a fresh perspective to my writing, as well as keep my grammar in check. 😉 She is also honest with her feedback, which you need to help you improve.

Now that the courses have finished I’ve found the confidence to tackle editing a larger project and have started re-writing my novel (60% completed). I also helped create the Steel City Writers, a writing group of ex-OU students. We have self-published an e-book anthology of our short stories and poetry so my work is finally out there.

My writing group encouraged me to join the social networking world where there are many, many people trying to achieve the same goal: Write and be published. The online community spirit is good and I feel stronger because of it.

This latest stage of my writing life started because my wife INSPIRED me to stop dreaming about what might happen and start making it happen. Because of her, I have two stories out in a book we published.

I want some more.

Thank you for reading, and thanks again to Stef for inviting me to guest-post on Dodging Commas.

 – Pete Denton

36 comments on “I want some more

  1. Pingback: April 12 – Update « Pete Denton – Writer

  2. It’s difficult to add anything to what has already been said, except to concur with most of them. I have been writing all my life(now 78) and began at school in Ireland, winning an essay that got me a tour of the Irish Times offices in Dublin. This inspired me further but only got as far as the nearest print works. But it meant I was never far from books and American comics, which the firm were printing too. All that ceased when I ran away (literally) to join the RAF at age 16. While in Malta my friend there needed to get some GCEs, so that he could qualify as a teacher when he got demobbed. I went along for the ride (he had a motorbike) and got my passes in Eng. Lit and Eng. Lang. So that set me on the road to writing. This is getting too long! On demob wrote an 800 page techno-thriller, which was storpedoed by one Tom Clancy. But I’m still writing – three novels so far and fourth well on the way. So don’t give up Pete, it can’t possibly take longer than me!

  3. Hi Pete! This post is very inspiring because a lot of writers feel they should have that ‘English teacher at school’ type of backdrop to their writing career. But of course people can come at it from any number of different directions and at any time of life, and the right type of support and encouragement makes all the difference.

    • Thanks, Vanessa. I’ve had four fantastic tutors on my OU courses. All encouraging in their own way so looking back, it has made up for the disappointment of my school days.

  4. Pete, you’re an inspiration! And you are a lucky man to have such a supportive and encouraging spouse. You give me courage to think about putting work ‘out there’ instead of sitting on it or hiding it in a drawer. Wonderful post my friend!

  5. Aw, great blog post! It’s amazing to have someone believe in you and your dream so much that they help you make it a reality!

  6. Brilliant post, Pete. And good on ya for taking the plunge! Your wife sounds like a lovely woman, encouraging you to follow that dream, however daunting it may have seemed.

    Here’s hoping I will follow in your footsteps one day! 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you’re finally following your passions. Life is short and sometimes you just have to jump in at the deep end. I think your wife knows that. You are very lucky to have such a strong support network. Good luck with the writing and whatever you do…don’t stop!

  8. A charming post, Pete – thanks to Stef for setting it up. I always like knowing more about the authors I follow, how they tick, what motivates them. I agree that the on-line community is very supportive – we need no longer feel isolated, when there’s so much out there to tap into. And, from what you say about her, Mrs D is a gem to be treasured! 🙂

  9. Pingback: Inspired to Write | Steel City Writers

  10. Even though the story is familiar to many writers each has their own take on it. It sounds like we might have seen your work a lot sooner Pete with a bit more encouragement at school but at least you’re out of the drawer now. Like you I have a lot to thank my wife for as I gauge my stories by her laughter when she reads them in bed. She’s better at laughing than correcting my grammar.
    Congratulations on Steel City Writers, there’s some great work there. Now back to the novel and lets get that on shelves in the bookshops.
    Very Best of Luck mate.

  11. Pingback: My first guest post « Pete Denton – Writer

  12. Congratulations on both having your work out there as well as on finishing your course and getting back to the novel! (and on having a lady who is that supportive and participative in your passion)
    I’ve got my first still sitting pretty because I’m more than a little afraid to get back to it at this point 😀


    • I think everyone who has a novel gathering dust should have another read through and see where the inspiration takes them. Thanks for your comments and good luck with your writing,

  13. It’s encouraging to hear stories of how closet writers have come to be writers. Many of us have gone through the ms. in the drawer stage. Classes, workshops, and social media friends help us to go to the next step.
    Thanks for sharing, Pete. And thanks to Stef, too.

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