Friday 8 April 2011

H is for...History

Hmmm. Now I know why I have such a bad back.
Other than writing, my other love is history. I've been interested in since I was a kid, and I think part of the appeal of the urban fantasy genre for me is that you get to create your own new histories and mythologies from scratch.

I studied for my BA in Trinity College Dublin. I met my husband there, also a history student and we met on a history society trip to Edinburgh.

After graduating I went to University College Dublin and got my MA in the Social and Cultural History of Medicine. When I told people I wanted to study history at BA level, they assumed I wanted to be a teacher, when they found out that I was doing an MA in the history of medicine they assumed I wanted to be a doctor. And the embarrassing thing is, at 24, I don't really know what I'm going to do with my life at all.

When I was younger, I was so definite. I was going to get my PhD, write in my spare time, and raise children. I was energetic and determined, but then I got ill. I just don't have the same amount of energy as I used to. I'm currently on a year out from college, and I don't know whether I should go back and start my research doctorate this autumn. My husband thinks I should focus on writing, but I worry if I do that I'll end up five years down the line no nearer to being published with all my dreams in the dust. I really don't know what to do.

If I do my PhD, I won't be writing as much. That's a fact. But other people seem to juggle lots of things in their lives. How do you all juggle everything?

The guys over at Paper Hangover are asking people what are five things they'd wish they'd known before becoming a writer. Here are mine:

1) No matter how great an idea sounds in your head, it always loses a slight something when it moves onto the page. This is normal, and not a sign that you are a failure.

2) When you're a writer, everything is material. Worried about going to a family occasion because you can't stand someone? That's ok. Save up the negativity and use it for a character. Stuck waiting in a queue at the grocery. Eavesdrop on other people's conversations. It helps you learn what makes people tick.

3) Coffee is fuel. It has magical qualities, the stronger the better.

4) Sometimes I will prefer my imaginary world to the real world. Though, I've been like this all my life, even before I started to write.

5) I wish I'd known how much writing can hurt. Your wrists, your back, your fingers (not to mention the whizzing of caffeine through your veins). I see physiotherapy in my future.

And that's it. Have a good Friday! ;)


  1. Love your list. Especially number one--something I am constantly reminding myself even now. As for the *pain* of writing, that's probably something I'm glad I didn't know, hahaha.

  2. yes! for #2. It makes people watching "work"-- which I love.

  3. Magical coffee FTW!! ;) *sips coffee* lol

  4. These are so, so true. I wish I had known #1 earlier and stopped beating myself up when the words on the page refuse to shine like the idea in my head. (Actually, I still need to learn that.)

  5. OMG! Everything on this list! Ahhhh yes!

    I'm not very good at juggling things myself, and I don't have fibro to deal with; I'm just a mega introvert who needs a lot of time to recharge. But I've done a lot of hemming and hawing over whether to go back to school... and ultimately I always decide it would cut too much into my writing time. :/ It's a hard decision, but for me it always helps to remember that there's no time limit on going back to school. There may come a time in my life where it'd be the perfect option, and it's just not right now.

  6. Numbers 1 & 2 are awesome advice. With number 5 coming in right behind. Really this is a great list. Thanks for putting my thoughts into words.

  7. I totally agree with #1 and 2. So true on both of them!!!

  8. HI Christine! Thanks for visiting my blog! I love history and writing too! I just got a course for writing children's books. It isn't the writing part that I don't know about it is the publishing part and they give you the information you need to try to get published. I totally agree with your rules! Except insert diet coke or tea for coffee. I am not a coffee drinker! I do hope you are having a great day!

  9. This list is so very true! Especially the coffee as fuel part. :) What would we do without it? haha

    @heather - I also substitute diet coke for coffee on occasion. :)

  10. Ah yes they say life is what happens when you've made other plans. I can identify with your list but your forgot the other fuel, chocolate /biscuits! :O)