Thanet Writers Question Scott Bailey

Author, poet and freelance writer Scott Bailey answers the Thanet Writers Discourse Questions.

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My name is Scott Bailey. I write novels, poetry and short stories. I am a husband and father of two beautiful boys. My family and I have gone through a lot lately, starting a family, losing a child, adopting and dealing with autism. Writing has been the thing that keeps me sane.

Origins

I started writing very young. When I was around 10. We had a supply teacher at primary school for a while and she read us some strange stories that I loved but cannot now find anywhere. The last thing though she read was the Hobbit. I was hooked and went straight home and started writing a sequel – unaware that one already existed! Ever since then I have always written though there have been gaps. Only more recently have I started approaching it more than just a hobby though – but I still limit it to something I enjoy – it has to remain that!

Influences

I was an avid reader growing up so my influences have been largely what I have read. This started as fantasy fiction but is now more science fiction. I particularly like vintage science fiction. I like books that challenge and have a social message about them. My main influences are Frank Herbert and Stephen R Donaldson. I have also to say Tolkien and even Enid Blyton for making me fall in love with reading in the first place.

I am also influenced a lot by music. Many an idea has sprung from the images conjured by a good song and sometimes from the mishearing of a lyric.

Motivations

My motivations for writing are many. Like reading, writing is a form of escapism for me. It has also become a form of therapy, allowing me to vent emotion and release it. Also, in day to day life, face to face with people I am not a very good communicator. I don’t get things across very well – at least that’s what I think. I can’t argue and hate conflict. Writing affords the luxury of being able to take you time and craft your message – really get across what you want to say.

I used to write for myself only – not caring for an audience but now I try to write in a more professional way, hoping that others will enjoy reading it and maybe I might even one day make a living from it!

Another motivation for me is that I don’t just want to be a consumer in this world. I want to be a creator and contribute something – even if it is just some poor lines of poetry and prose.

Beyond all that though, I write because I love it. All the above reasons have to come second to that. If any of them interfere with that they will be dropped.

Habits

I don’t really have any writing habits. I would like to say I have to write a certain amount a day but it never happens. I would love to say I have to have no interruptions when writing – but I always do. Constantly.

I always try to have some way to write, even if it’s on the phone. That way I can steal a few minutes here and there to get something down.

One thing I always try to do is give ideas time to stew. I like to leave projects sometimes – work on something else for a while and then come back to the original. By then the subconscious has done it work and you bring something better to it.

Inspirations

My biggest inspiration has always come from my friends. They lifted me out of what would have been a “normal” track of life and let me see that other ways were possible, other trains of thought, other perspectives.

In a similar way, my favourite author – Stephen Donaldson – showed me it was possible to write in an established genre in a fresh and thought provoking way.

Barriers

The biggest obstacle I always have is time. Having a young family, a child with special needs, and holding down a full-time job does not leave a lot of time for me. But that is at it should be – my family needs to come first.

I suppose self-doubt plays a part. I have never been confident in any sphere of life. That goes back to trying not to care too much though – in the case of writing, although I strive to be better all the time I still hold on the fact that I should enjoy it. If I start stressing about my doubts I dismiss that as being an obstacle to my enjoyment. Perhaps I should try it throughout my life!

Achievements

Writing-wise, my greatest achievement has been completing my first novel and self-publishing it. Outside of that, I think engineering, and pursuing a career change – something I am considering doing again. Having such wonderful kids – but most of that is down to a wonderful wife!

Advice

Just write, as often as you can and never stop. The more you do it the easier it becomes to start. I took a long break and it was hard to get back into. I did that by starting small and doing a very little bit each day until the juices started flowing again. I would also echo Stephen King’s advice: read as much as you can. Reading gives you the feel of what sounds right and what doesn’t.

Now

I am currently putting together a collection of ‘epic’ poems. They were all written quite some time ago so I am currently dusting them off and doing some serious editing. They are all quite long – the longest being over 12,000 words. I think it’s a bit different from other offerings at the moment so it’s a bit of a gamble – but I like them myself a lot – so hopefully that means there is some merit in them.

Next

Once the collection of poems is done and out there I want to do another novel. I am not 100% certain what yet, but I will probably pick up on the work I did for the 2014 NaNoWriMo. That was exhilarating and the story that emerged I really loved. However, the 50,000 took me to a point in the story where I was not sure how to progress. I knew how the story would end but not how to get there from where I was. I have been mulling it over, tumbling it around in my head for the last few years and I think I know what to do now. So I think I am ready to pick that up.

Scott Bailey is a freelance writer, author, and blogger. His works include the dystopian novel “Mankind Limited” and “A Spring of Dreams”.

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