It was during a difficult time in my life. I was stressed and upset, over what doesn’t matter. We’ve all had those times; they keep popping up like a summer cold. I read a suspense novel that I thought was rather poorly written, both in execution and plot. I’m no great writing critic, but I know what I like, what keeps me riveted. This book left me thinking, for some ungodly reason, that I could do better. I’d never written anything other than silly poems or fashion copy for ads I used to draw for stores in Boston when that was my profession a lifetime ago.
I had a plot idea and started writing, having no plan, no outline. When I finished, I thought it was a pretty good story, but I knew I needed an editor. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but at least I knew it. I found a man online, we chatted. I thought he was quite the character, and it turned out he was. I got his prices and sent him the manuscript. He emailed me after reading forty-nine pages and said the plot was great; the writing needed work.
Well, yeah, that’s why I sent it to you, I wanted to say but didn’t.
His edit was great, a primer on how to write a sentence, eliminating all the extraneous garbage. I felt like I had taken a college class.
Not to go further with the book or the editor but to the reason I started writing in the first place. Entering into a fantasy world took me out of my own world, which, as I said, was not a happy place to be at that time. My story became my other life, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I loved being someone else for those writing hours, because that’s how I did it. I became my heroine and my hero, my villain and the supporting players. I enjoyed the process so much, that I kept writing my stories after I finished that book, creating other stories, each different from the one before.
As situations always change, I got past my dark period and found a new love: writing. The book I started at that time was Threads.
Finding a passion, an outlet, is an important factor in taking charge and making whatever that passion is work for you. It could be writing, as it was for me, or music or art or acting or reading. It could be activism or volunteering or even politics. The point is to keep your mind occupied, seek out a different interest―something that challenges you. Even if you’re not in a dark period, it’s exciting to take a different path to keep you energized. Whatever you choose, do it for yourself. Learning something new is the best reward for a lazy brain.
Polly Iyer is the author of seven novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.