To turn my mistakes into opportunities

By some miracle, I now have three books published, two more written, and another underway. What will I do with myself when I’ve finished writing my latest book? Write another?

I endow my characters with more practical skills than I have, more confidence, as well as the hope that everything will work out in the end: I am writing women’s fiction, after all, and it seems only right to have an optimistic ending. But also, I write because I can make use, then, of some of my mistakes and turn them to more hopeful account. Writing is not merely wish fulfilment, it is also a form of apology, it allows us to consider different endings, and maybe, just maybe, it gives us extra courage to try for happy endings ourselves.

There is no doubt that an eventful life is excellent fodder for fiction. So is a life littered with wrong paths, poor choices, and the boulders that crop up when we know we are going the wrong way, but seem powerless to turn away. In some ways, fiction represents a synthesis of the best and the worst bits of life lived thus far, with a sprinkling of magic and strong characters whom – oh, yes – we can love and loathe, but whom it is hard for us to ignore.

It seems a very worth-while thing to do; to take a million-and-one mistakes and turn them to good account by writing about them, so that I can laugh and learn the lessons of acceptance. Letting go of my mistakes in such entertaining fashion, I move forward into something better.

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