Write that book you thought you couldn’t!
Book Now

How My Writing Discovered and Saved Me

By Irene Namara

In a couple of weeks, my first novel, Scents of A Broken Mirror, a psychological thriller, will hit the market. It has taken me a while to get to this place where I will own the title: author. It has been a journey filled with uncertainties, but I am glad I did not give up because writing saved me.

You see, discovering my love for writing did not start until adulthood. When I was a child, I loved reading books that were not literary texts set on the school curriculum. In my mind, I always imagined that writing was a thing for the super-geniuses, so I did not bother to nurture the skill. I only read the other worlds others had conjured. 

As I grew older, the world around me started getting broader with the enormous volume of books I was guzzling. I started to become smaller. There had to be a way for me to express the expansive world inside my head that was threatening to swallow me whole. Talking about it was not enough. In fact, my inherent introversion does not make me a great talker. Tired of living in my head, I had no option but to write. I should say I did not discover my love for writing; writing discovered me. 

I started by writing in black picfare books that now sit in a pile in a corner of my bookshelf. I would write about anything and everything. When I joined social media, I took the opportunity to share my world and ran with it. It was not long before I realised that writing was not only for geniuses. Anyone, whose inner world threatens to swallow them, can write. Before I knew it, I was writing articles for newspapers and magazines. But my love for writing had only just begun.

At the back of my mind, a book lingered on. I always pushed the thought away, thinking I would probably write in my retirement. But, like a baby who just discovered walking, retirement was too far for me to wait. One morning, I started the project.

It was scary at first. I wrote my first chapter in about six hours, but preparation took me more than a week of endless nights. Despite my editor's confidence in the project, I had to double and triple-check everything about writing a book. Even when I finally wrote my first paragraph, I was not very sure about the waters on which I had set sail. 

In July 2019, I attended a SuccessSpark Brand Writing Retreat. The three-day-retreat sparked such a light on the book-project that I have since used to navigate these difficult waters. Jackee Batanda, together with Crystal Butungi, helped me master the art of visualising my characters.

Before then I treated my characters like stepchildren...I loved them but there was an invisible wall between us because they were not truly mine. After the writing retreat, I have found myself walking, talking, and acting like the characters of my imagination. Sometimes I feel like I must have lived their life somehow in my lifetime or the one before.

I worked non-stop, doing all-nighters, and drowning in caffeine. I have had moments of uncertainty unsure of whether I am pulling it off. I have had many moments where I have wished I had never embarked on the project in the first place. What was I thinking? This is too big for me. I cannot do this.

But then I think of Jackee's work on me, my editor's work on me and a few other people who put their faith in me, and then I am jogged back up. With fresh energy to steer the boat back onto smooth sails. There will never be a more beautiful way to reach the shores.