Circumstance Rules

For me, writing never gets easier. It’s always hard work. It doesn’t matter how many words you wrote the day before, or how many novels you’ve completed in the last decade: every day you start fresh again with that same blank page, or that same blank screen.

Lincoln Child

Ever known a person who mapped out their life’s path and walked along it without stubbing a toe or have wave of calamity batter them? Neither have I. But such is life, right? It suffers a nasty reputation of being contrary. Joy and wonder are sprinkled between the heartache and pain and disappointment.  Much like novel writing. Those contrary elements I consider the tempering fires. One soon learns to survive by expecting the unexpected; by storing the experience in the forefront of their psyche for future reference. These experiences, the good and downright miserable, become bright gems of inspiration for a writer.

As for that map . . . Did I ever consider becoming a writer? Hell no. Never even kept a diary. A dangerous practice given my fertile mind and siblings with no concept of privacy. However, during those first twelve years of academic incarceration, I wrote short stories and poetry by choice rather than to fulfil a requirement. My great ambitions shifted from becoming a high school gym teacher to an Olympic field hockey player for Canada. Never reached either of those goals because I allowed circumstance to rule, never fought hard enough for what mattered to me. The exception was four years of selfish endeavour to attain a double honours degree in behavioural sciences while in my early thirties. While there, I decided to become a psychologist who used horses to turn around the lives of people failing to cope with being human. Achieved the degree but circumstance ruled again. And yes, I caved.

Years later, one particularly large wave swept me off my feet and nearly crushed me; became my great shove to writerdom. Desperate for a creative distraction, I responded to a local newspaper advertising a writing competition. A congratulatory phone call and a twenty-five-dollar winner’s cheque followed. In that same newspaper I read an advert for ‘writers wanted’ to join the Shuswap Writers’ Group. During my brief time there, I tested my aptitude as a writer. Thus began a long journey to hone my skills. That year, I entered a short story in The Shuswap Writers’ Festival competition and was gobsmacked when I won first prize. A Kindle reader and the story published in their next anthology.

This newbies writer’s life was going great guns. I was published not once, but twice! No longer a writer but an author, right? Time for a reality check. A friend/member, Mary Nyland, threw down a NaNoWriMo challenge. “Short stories are easy. Try writing a novel,” she said. “Fifty thousand words over the month of November.”

The prospect sounded daunting given what was already on my plate, but the flotsam in that wave inspired and became the fuel which drove the story and sent me down the path of serious writing. Finally, I discovered a creative avenue to put my psychology degree to work. INVISIBLE When Shadows Call was born.

Everyone receives a series of powerful shoves throughout life. It is how we respond that matters. What was yours? How or why did you start writing? How far have you come on your journey? I’d love to hear about your baptism.

Thanks for listening. Cheers.

S. C. Roberts

5 thoughts on “Circumstance Rules

  1. Entertaining and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your writing journey. Putting real personal things ‘out there’ is the hardest part of writing for me. I like to hide behind a fantasy story, or escape into impossible realities. I often choose things to read that will help me escape…somewhere. But I do believe becoming vulnerable gives our words the biggest impact. I think I’m going to enjoy this site.


    • So happy you’ve dropped in. Yes, the vulnerability is a tough one to swallow but pushes towards growth. Love that term – impossible realities. That is what Writeside-Up feels like. 🙂 The beauty of opening a book about someone else’s troubles and cheering them on is the perfect escapism, isn’t it. Thanks Bev. I look forward to seeing you around Writeside-Up. Cheers.


    • Thanks Bev. Appreciate your joining me. I believe that as well – writing from the heart, no matter how difficult or revealing takes the reader from reading a story to feeling it. Makes a huge difference with regard to lasting impact. Thanks again. Hope your writing is going well. Cheers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s