The first sentence

pen and paper

A few weeks ago I wrote about my recent family history discoveries and the story of my great grandmother and how I was being sucked in more and more to the story of her life. It has almost become a compulsion to find out as much as I can about the events leading up to her marriage and eventual widowhood and my searches have led me to finding an unknown cousin, who knew more of the story than I did but was happy to share all he knew, also to a willing local historian who lived in the very same village and has reassured me that he will be able to furnish me with many details and much background information. Also from my father I learned that this love match, for so it would have seemed to be initially, was not always a joyous one as Thomas was a man who had little concerns over beating his children and as my great grandmother, Gally, was described by all who knew her as a gentle and caring lady, that surely can not have made for a happy life. It also appears to be that after his death, she never mentioned her husband’s name in conversation, it was as if the 19 years they had together had never happened.

When I first began to research the story I felt sure that it would be worthy of writing about, the basis of a novel was sitting there in front of me and all that was needed was  some further research in to life in the years between 1865 and 1940 and I would be off, my fingers flying across the keyboard as I shared this moving tale with an audience. So why am I finding it so hard to begin? There is an empty page in front of me, I have had a fairly definite idea of the structure of the book from the beginning but I am finding it so difficult to get that first sentence down.

Distractions are easy to come by: the laundry needs folding, a cake must be baked, the sun is shining so the outdoors calls, e mails must be read and replied to, texts sent, calls made and even the dreaded housework has come to stand between me and my writing. Even writing this blog is an excuse not to have to begin the first sentence!

Am I alone in finding this the hardest part of writing? I would welcome advice and hints, suggestions and strategies although possibly what I really need is a kick in the nether regions.

I have taken one positive step in signing up for a writing workshop next week entitled, “How to start your story” so I have high hopes of returning with the first sentence crafted and that wonderful feeling of wanting to get on with it, of my desk being the place that I want to be above all others.


Gratitude 2

In my last blog post I wrote about the worry of my daughter facing the unknown with a breast lump. We have a strong family history of breast cancer so staying positive was not easy for either her or me, so the relief on hearing that she has a harmless hormonal cyst was huge. I lost my grandmother and mother to this disease and underwent preventative surgery in my 40s as I had by then had over a dozen cysts removed, a decision I have never regretted. It now looks as though my daughter may be following the family pattern of throwing up cysts as she matures but the treatments have improved so much that she was able to receive diagnosis within two weeks of first finding the lump and will now be monitored on a yearly basis. The C word is still scary but not in the way that it was for my Mother back in the 1980s, today there is far greater knowledge, a wider range of treatment options and an amazingly supportive breast care service run by the NHS in UK.


There is much to be grateful for and Breast Cancer Care will continue to be my number one charity to receive support

breastcancer care