Not that writing is a difficult chore, of course. I’m retired and I don’t have to write. I do it because I enjoy the process of creating. When I was an area controller at the Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre, I took up painting as a way of calming myself down after a busy time on watch. It was a creative activity as well as calming one. I look upon novel writing in the same way. Where I once created scenes in paints, I now do it in words.
The conundrum is not, “Why do I write?” Instead, it is, “Why did I spend my working life in a non-creative job?” The simple answer is that I worked to pay the mortgage and support my family. Interestingly, it also gave me an insight into the mentality of people in non-creative work, and that helped me when creating characters for my stories. It also gave me ideas for plot lines. My readers often tell me the novel they liked most was Prestwick, a tale of two aircraft colliding over the North Atlantic. I could never have written that tale with conviction had I not had an insight into how such a situation might arise. And how the people involved might react.
My own favourite amongst the novels I have had published is King’s Priory. I wrote it at a time when I was still formulating my own ideas on the meaning of life, the universe and everything. My ideas have moved on since then but there is a lot of me in that novel.
So, there is no Henry in the house today and no reason why I should not get more work completed on my latest novel. I read the first chapter of this story to a group of writers at a novellists’ gathering last weekend and they gave me some excellent feedback. And I’m raring to go.