Introducing… Debbie White

Sperm are determined.

And swallows. Look how they fly thousands of miles from South Africa to make a nest and raise a brood in the eaves of our barn just because it’s where they nested last year. It’s their natural instincts to do so. They travel to whatever lengths, face whatever challenges and jump whatever hoops to achieve their goals.

As humans, we’re just as determined in the way we live our lives. Sometimes we’re driven by instinct, although more often by our upbringing, or our own goals and plans for life. My Nan brought me up and taught me the mantra, ‘There’s no such word as Can’t’  from an early age. It’s her legacy that made determination my middle name, so you can imagine how it affected me when I had to retire from my job as a Bank Manager due to ill health when I was only thirty-three.

After spending weeks in hospital over the next couple of years my health stabilised, and I eventually grew bored of watching daytime TV and the continual stream of mum and toddler coffee mornings. I needed something for me; something to strive for, to make me feel alive again. So I started a small business, hand crafting and painting personalised keepsake gifts but a few years later, my health got the better of that too. I hated the thought of giving up again but I couldn’t keep battling the flare-ups in my hands and wrists.

It didn’t take long for the familiar cloak of boredom to weigh heavy on my shoulders again and for my restless brain to crave stimulation. Not being one to sit around moping, I considered doing an Open University course. I’d always fancied myself as a bit of a writer and wished I’d stayed on at school and studied English and been a teacher. But then one day, I came across a notebook in a drawer and I read the pages of a storyline I’d written while on maternity leave with my second son. It was funny, but I’d forgotten all about that notebook.

A little like Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Sliding Doors,’ do you ever wonder if you’d done one tiny thing different, whether the end result might have changed completely? Well, as I sat and read through the story I’d jotted down it came to life in my mind’s eye and I felt compelled to write it, even though I had no idea how to write or structure a novel. Armed with a copy of Jane Wenham-Jones ‘Wannabe a writer’ I booked myself on an Arvon Course. Now three years down the line, I’ve served a fulfilling apprenticeship learning the craft of writing and am currently on the third re-write of the novel.

Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Living with an auto-immune disease and being in chronic pain has meant I’ve had to adapt and re-invent myself several times over the years. It’s meant compromising but it doesn’t mean abandoning my dreams. I still have dreams. They are what keep me going some days.

Sometimes I feel like a salmon – another determined little breed – with the constant feeling of swimming against the tide, travelling upstream. However, one thing I do know is I’ll never ever give up.

I have to write. When I don’t, I feel restless and unfulfilled. Writing is the milk in my tea; the fondant on my cup cake, the ice-cream on my jelly. And with the support of my amazing friends and family, the RNA and my wonderful writer friends on the NWS, I know I’ll get there in the end…

Hopefully, you will follow my writer friends and me on our journey.

Until another day

Bye for now


32 thoughts on “Introducing… Debbie White

  1. What an inspiring post – beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story!

    (And I had to struggle to get past ‘sperm’ and ‘swallow’ in the opening lines — ahem. Sorry, it’s Friday.)

    • Thank you for your kind words, Talli and glad to know I got the opening right and grabbed your attention – that’s a good start for a wannabe writer! x

  2. Lol Talli, yes that made a startling read from the Facebook introduction! Great post Debbie, so nice to know more about you and certainly had no idea you had struggled with ill-health. Your bio is incredibly inspiring. I wish you lots of success with the novel xx

    • Hi Debbie. Thank you for your kind comment and good wishes with the novel. (You clearly haven’t looked at my FB photos then – warning there’s some pretty gruesome photos of major surgery I had just over a year ago.)

      It’s been so interesting reading the stories of the other Romaniacs over the last couple of weeks. I think most of us have stories and bios that are inspirational. I look forward to hearing more about yours!


  3. Hello, Debbie! It’s nice meeting you. I enjoyed your story.

    Talli – you are amazingly alert for this early hour. Respect!

    What an impressive introduction by you all, Romaniacs.

    Liz X

  4. What a wonderful post. Talk about an opening line that has you hooked! I like your colourful writing, and the mantra ‘there’s no such word as can’t’ is very familiar in our house indeed (vis-a-vis the children… and myself!). Thanks for sharing, and for your candour. It’s really nice to meet you!

    • You’re very kind, Nicky. It’s very good to make your acquaintance too. Yes, I’ve continued the ‘no such word as can’t’ mantra through with my boys. Hopefully it should serve them all well!

  5. Wonderful, frank post, and a stonker of a grabber at the beginning! Completely agree, there’s no such thing as can’t, only won’t (and that is something I hear from my children a lot). Keep going with the writing – you WILL get there, with support from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, and, most importantly, with your own determination.

  6. Having watched you embark on your writing voyage and to have witnessed you steer a course through some very choppy and troubled waters, I know how determined you are to succeed and that you will get there! Good luck, M’dear!

    • Thank you Chris. You’re a sweetie. Yes, we’ve travelled some very troubled waters in cyber space over the years, haven’t we? Here’s to onwards and upwards, the RNA, and all who sail on her!


  7. Thanks Christina (Pia)

    You’re right there! And I certainly have plenty of determination so hopefully that’s a good start. However, determination alone would not carry the path to publication – I see from so many that the support and friendship from fellow writer’s and RNA member goes hand in hand for the ultimate success!


  8. Hello there, Debbie! I remember telling my children that there was ‘no such word as can’t’. One of them went and got the dictionary…. that’s the kind of children I’m raising! I’m very glad that you stuck with the writing despite all your problems and I hope it brings you success! x

  9. I’m sure you’ll get there in the end too, Debs. x

    My grandmother’s mantra was, ‘It can be done’ and I’ve been brought up to believe that you only fail when you don’t try to do something.

  10. Thanks for that, Debs. I have to. I just know I have to get there in the end. I’m my own worst critic.

    And completely agree with your Grandmother – must be the same mould as my Nan – and I always tell my boys they won’t know unless they try.


  11. That Talli Roland’s a one, isn’t she Debbie? Made this bashful writer of erotica choke on her afternoon green tea 🙂 Just wanted to thank you for your frank and inspiring post. My niece lives with a disease of the immune system, constant round of medication (side effects) and trips from Pembs to Bristol Eye Clinic. I hope your writing continues to absorb you and that you find happiness and success with it along the way. xx

  12. Haha, Toni – Yes, her and Mandy are writing the wrong type of stuff! 😀

    Thank you for your kind words. I wonder if your niece has Behcets disease, same as me. My eyes are rarely affected but it is one of the aspects. For me, the arthritis and colitis are the symptoms which stop me in my tracks. But yes, my writing is the thing (along with my two boys) to keep me going.


    • Rosemary, you are always so supportive. Thank you and welcome to The Romaniacs.

      Debbie x

    • Oh Jean. Thank you so much for your positive words and encouragement. I will keep putting in all that hard work and hope the Romaniacs and my own blog continues to be successful and grows! Good to make your acquaintance


  13. Hi Debbbie, as ever you are an inspiration. Those Arvon courses have a lot to answer for eh?

  14. Hi Debbie,
    What an inspiring post. Wishing you the best of luck with your novel and I look forward to seeing you at an RNA event in the near future.X
    p.s.that must be your subconscious taking over in the first couple of lines of the post…!

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