It’s True! I Wrote My First Novel on My Phone!
Funny story, really…
I’ve been writing for many years; numerous articles, blogs, short stories, a children’s book, and I’m currently working on my fourth novel.
I fell in love with reading when I was a child, and after writing my first short story in school, I knew I wanted to be a writer! The idea of creating unique but relatable characters and exciting plots gave me a rush, but life being life, it wasn’t the direction I went, not straight away anyway.
I studied Business in college, then Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence at University – graduating with an Honours Degree in something I never really had any interest in nor wanted to pursue. Don’t get me wrong, Cybersecurity is a fantastic and lucrative career choice, but it just wasn’t for me – sadly, it took me four years of hard work to realise that! To be honest, I think I knew this wasn’t for me by the second year, but I’m not that guy that likes to leave things half done. Nevertheless, it was a great experience, and university taught me a lot about life, and I met some great mentors and friends. So, I suppose it was all worth it in the end. (So, I keep telling myself!)
This experience made me realise that although money was important to me, waking up every morning doing something I loved and wanted to wake up for was far more important. So, after graduating, I purposefully didn’t take a job in Cybersecurity out of fear that the next thirty years might go by without me realising, and I might never chase my ambition of becoming a writer. So, I did the thing that made the most amount of sense to me… I applied for a job at Tesco.
My friends and family thought I was crazy, but I had a plan – a plan that the more I thought about, the more it sounded completely insane. I was going to write a novel. My salary from Tesco would help me scrape by while I worked on my passion. The dilemma, however, was that I had no idea how to write a novel correctly. I never studied how to write, and as I later discovered, writing must be learned. Storytelling was something that came naturally to me, but the craft of writing did not.
Writing is undoubtedly a skill that demands to be learned and mastered.
Also, I was married to my better half, and we had a toddler who demanded attention and another child on the way! So, time was not on my side. Juggling work, time with the family, another child on the way was not easy. Not to mention that the bills were piling up.
I wanted to quit. And at times, I think I did. I had absolutely no time to write, and the stress of everything made the thought of writing a waste of valuable time. But I could never shake off the niggling feeling that I wanted/needed to write!
It was only after I was offered a Nokia E71 phone on my contract, I had the most bizarre idea. Don’t get me wrong, I am full of stupid and outlandish ideas, but this one seemed the wildest. The phone had a qwerty keypad, and I found a way to download Microsoft Word on the device. I could write on the device during my lunch break at Tesco! It was laughable – no one wrote emails on their phone in those days – writing an entire novel was ludicrous… but there I was, every lunch break, writing!
Soon, this went from just lunch breaks to my fifteen-minute tea breaks as well. And before I knew it, I was writing at every opportunity I could get. It probably took me six months of writing before I hit 70,000 words, and I couldn’t believe I did it. And all without compromising my time at work and home.
It didn’t take much to transfer the manuscript to my computer and format it into a book! It certainly wasn’t my best book, but it was a steppingstone to being what I wanted to be – a writer.
I still laugh about this today! And, I feel like any minute now, someone is going to knock on my door and tell me that I’ve been caught out. ‘No one writes a novel using their phone, you charlatan!’