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Making it Happen by John Verling

Writing.ie | Magazine | Tell Your Own Story | Writing & Me
John Verling

John Verling

Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a writer. It was always my fallback position. Preparing for the Leaving Cert all my friends wanted to be X, Y or Z and worked hard to get the points. Me? I didn’t want to be anything, I was going to be a writer, be famous, and be the one talked about. When I went to college and did badly in exams, sure it didn’t matter; I was going to be a writer. Any job I took after college, sure I was only doing it for the money; I was going to be a writer wasn’t I? Even when I was self-employed for the last ten years or so and things started to go badly…sure it didn’t matter; I was going to be a writer. Can anyone else notice the repetition of the verb ‘to go’? Always in its future tense?

Therein lay my problem and it was MY problem, I always was going to be a writer but never actually did anything about. Fear of ridicule and rejection was always high on my list of reasons not write but again it was MY fear. Along with plenty of other excuses…I wrote a novel, after a few rejections, which I took too seriously, I thought maybe it wasn’t for me. I don’t even know where it is now, probably on that old Amstrad in a landfill somewhere.

Then in the autumn of2011 I started to write about my life, everyday happenings but also trying to make sense of my son’s epilepsy.  So began what became www.verlingsweek.com. My family wasn’t something I’d planned to write about, but it is said that you should write about what you know. It’s possibly the best advice I could give anyone, that and a bit of self discipline. The self-discipline is something I’m still working on.

So I went into 2012 determined to write more.. My weekly blog was done every Sunday and I don’t think I missed a post all year. An achievement for me.  There were times when I found it tough, put it off till Sunday evening but still I got one posted. As I was working all week, my writing was confined to the weekends, Saturday a short story and Sunday the blog post. By and large I fell into the rhythm of the process and while I haven’t always knocked out a story I do have a fair collection now and plenty of ideas. I have one of those A4 day by day diaries and whenever I have an idea I write it down, invaluable for days when the juices aren’t flowing. The diary is actually from 2011 but who cares, it does the job.

A few goals were set. One was to write more and that has been done. Write more is my goal for 2013 too. Another big goal for me was to get over my shyness, have a bit of confidence in my work. That I’ve tried to do, by sending pieces to websites and competitions. Writing.ie took some of my work and the day I got an email accepting the pieces, was, well, just wonderful. That goal is another one I’m keeping for this year, to be confident of and to push my work. About this time last year I started getting emails and Facebook messages from people, telling me how much they liked my writing, really positive, nice messages. That’s when I got the courage to start my website.

This September I got accepted on a course at the Institute of Technology Tralee, a year- long pilot course called Writing for Radio and Radio Production.  Half-way through now, and I’ve written and produced my own half-hour show and submitted a portfolio of my written work.  Amazing for me, really amazing.

New Year’s Day last year I was dreading going back to work, today all I’m thinking about is the writing I have to do. Have I got enough time in my life for it all? It was something I was always GOING to do, now I am doing it and I’ve never been happier.

About the author

You can read John’s Mining Memories story John Joe’s Bar here

John Verling a 46 year old, self-employed retailer, he says, “I’m a writer when I can be, and always the full-time Dad. Originally from Cobh in Co. Cork, I lived in London during the late ‘80s, before moving to Dingle, Co. Kerry in August 1992. There I met my wife Lisa and we now have two children, Ruby 14 and Freddie, 9. My eldest boy, Thomas 18, lives in England with his mother.

Over the years, I’ve worked in publishing, bike repair, running a holiday hostel, website sales, internet café owner and since 2006, I’ve run a mobile phone shop. In September 2011, we moved to Tralee, as Freddie’s epilepsy meant we could no longer live too far away from a hospital. My writing is mainly memoir and stories from or about people I meet during my day. I write whenever I can, but finding the time can always be difficult.

My one writing duty is my blog, which details my family’s weekly happenings and how we deal with Freddie’s epilepsy www.verlingsweek.com. I’m on Twitter @johnverling.”

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