Guest author: Richard Dee – I was never a writer

Image: Pixabay

I was never a writer. I was a reader, right from the day that the squiggles on the page made sense. I was a devourer of the words of others. I grew up and became a captive audience, a traveller in ships of metal, crossing the oceans with goods for trade. It was just me and the sea and a library of other people’s books.

You joined the ship with a book, you left it behind. Part of you travelled on just as part of others accompanied you. There were as many different books as there are seafarers, but they all had a tale to tell. And with time on my hands, I read every one that I could.

I was never a writer, I wrote short, stilted letters home. I saw the wonders of the deep and could only say that it was sunny. I never put into words the things I saw, the majesty of soaring, sunlit clouds, a green flash at sunset, the countless stars or the frolicking dolphins. I smelt sandalwood on the breeze, explored distant lands and kept it to myself.

Yet…, somewhere, a part of me must have been paying attention, filing it all away.

Then one day, I tired of it all, I hung up my sextant and left it all behind. I swapped my rolling deck for a stationary desk.

I had a life, I did other things, I was still a reader, maybe not so much, family life saw to that. But when I could, I’d escape into another world, a world created in someone else mind. And without letters to write home, I wrote reports instead, factual accounts of what I had done, official prose. I found them hard to write. Because I was never a writer.

Then, one day, I had a dream, I was in it, but it was set in a different place. I was moving cargo around again, I had just exchanged my ship on the water for a ship in space. The cargo was the same and a lot of the routine was similar. In my dream, I was Dave Travise, a loner with only the regrets of his past to keep him company.

I had the dream again and again.

In the end, I wrote my dream down, it took me a long while. As I wrote I remembered more of it and the account grew. I hoped that once I’d exhausted my memory, the dream would vanish and leave me alone; after all, I was never a writer.

It worked. When I’d finished, the dream stopped, as if the very act of committing it to paper had satisfied it somehow.

I got on with my life, grew old and retired.

Then, I had another dream. This one was different. I wasn’t in it. Instead, I saw a farm on another planet. I knew that I was looking at a microwave generator, whatever one of those might be, then I saw the girl. She was running for her life. I awoke feeling like I had been an invisible observer to a real event. I wrote that down too, even though I was never a writer.

Then it dawned on me, the two stories could be connected, could be part of a bigger tale. More than that, they could be added to. If only I was a writer, I could do that.

It was like opening a floodgate. I stopped having the dreams when I was asleep. Instead, I had them when I was awake, they would sneak into my head when I was doing other things. I watched a film in my head, I could slow it down and rewind it, but I could never fast forward. I typed what I saw, never looking at the words filling the screen.

Reading the pages back, when the film stopped, was a revelation. I had created people and places, situations and…, a story. And I had done it without knowing where it would lead. Yet it all made sense. It might have needed a little tidying up, but it had a beginning, a middle and an ending. Dave Travise had come alive, he was as real as anyone in anything I had ever read. And the more I wrote, the more there was to write.

Dave Travise was joined by a host of other people, who must have been waiting in some corner of my mind. There was Horis, from the Ministry of Coal. There was the ill-fated Myra. There was the reluctant and accident-prone amateur detective, Andorra Pett. And many others. They all had tales to tell, they jostled for time and attention, filling my mind with their exploits and keeping my keyboard clattering. I never knew what they would get up to next, never saw anything further than what was on the screen when I stopped typing and looked up. Through my fingers, they explored the galaxy, fought crime and righted wrongs. In short, they lived, they loved and all too sadly, occasionally they died. Their passing always left me with sorrow, although it hadn’t been my doing. They had decided when they had done what they needed, when it was time for them to go. They had been created in my mind, borne by my fingers, they had life and a purpose, suddenly they weren’t.

The number of novels and short stories grew, I got an editor and started to publish them myself. I lacked the confidence to ask the opinion of the experts. It was my hobby, I was never a writer.

Then the fun started. “What happens next?” asked a reader, “What happened before?” asked another, “What does this mean?” wondered a third.  It surprised me that people wanted to know, that I had made them interested enough to want more. At first, I thought that it meant that I hadn’t given them enough, then I understood that I hadn’t given them too much. To explain and answer their questions, I asked the characters and via my fingers, they told me.

And they keep on telling me.

I was a writer.

About the author

Hello, I’m Richard Dee and I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures. I also chronicle the exploits of a reluctant and accident-prone amateur detective called Andorra Pett. I’m a Master Mariner and ex Thames River Pilot, now retired and living in Brixham, a small town in the South West of England.

My website is at Head over there to see what I get up to. While you’re there, make sure you click the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work, with purchase links and extracts. Don’t forget to check out the FREE STUFF tab as well, you can pick up a free novel or short story.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi


Tell me a story…

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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17 Responses to Guest author: Richard Dee – I was never a writer

  1. Loved this, Richard! That’s how many of us start, believing we can’t but determined to try. Your life sounds so interesting, I imagine you’ll have a neverending well to draw from now.
    Best of luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really enjoyed this article. I also never felt like a writer but little stories kept coming and the more you write the more they come. You end up a writer more by accident than actual intent.


  3. “It worked. When I’d finished, the dream stopped, as if the very act of committing it to paper had satisfied it somehow.” Yep, it happens that way. Road crossing chicken poems pushed their way through with me, and would not take no for an answer. But I’m not a writer. I did enjoy reading this post about the sport though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Smith says:

    I enjoyed this. I’m always fascinated in how people become writers. I’m guessing quite a few of us stumble onto the path almost by accident. I was going to say by mistake but it’s not a mistake – something pushes us into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Resa says:

    Very neat guest post! i like the title: “I was never a writer”, and the way Richard ran with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol says:

    I love this post….I am not a writer either 😀


  7. clandie says:

    I love your story. I pray with all my heart that maybe one day, it could become mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willowdot21 says:

    Well for someone who is not a writer… you have done amazingly well. Congratulions and thank you for being so inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on DSM Publications and commented:
    Meet guest author, Richard De, from this post on Sue Vincent’s blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. dgkaye says:

    Loved this. Funny how many of us writers are often the last to acknowledge we are writers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for posting Sue, and for everyone’s kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.


  12. olganm says:

    Lovely post and true to what many of us feel. Thanks, Richard and Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Each day perhaps I feel a little bit more like a writer but self-doubt is a powerful thing! Lovely post. 🙂


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