In 2017 I wrote a novel. 50, 000 words in a fantasy world with characters that had been driving me nuts for months beforehand, screaming to be put on paper. A year later, I took it on holiday to take another look. It was awful. The story was ok - I still think it has potential, one day, after a heck of a lot of work.
The characters were cardboard cut outs. The descriptions were flowery. The POV's were only just under control, and there were chapters that should have been evicted to the desert to roll with the other tumbleweeds. BUT - a year on, I could see this as clearly as if the manuscript had jumped up and slapped me across the face, and that, I consider, is serious progress.
Because in that year, I had learned an awful lot.
I have always wanted to write. Always. Always. But life took me in other directions, and it fell off my radar and, I believed, beyond my capabilities. Now don't get me wrong, I've done a lot of fun things. I've had a lot of jobs, lived in a lot of places, have a wonderful family and friends, and despite many ups and downs, have never had a dull moment. But this 'writing thing' was still waiting, buried under layers of 'too busy, not good enough and not yet.'
Until it wasn't anymore.
I had already 'harnessed the power' with my other long-term dream of working in television. Not, as I originally thought, in front of the camera, but very happily behind, in the post-production team. So when I happened upon an author with several novels under her belt, written whilst parenting and working, a second light bulb went off. What's stopping me? And so it began in earnest. I joined Creative Kids Tales, and attended the festival - kid in candy store material. Publishers, illustrators, authors - in person, beaming in from who knows where in Australia, and excitingly, other aspiring authors like me. We compared notes. We found each other on Facebook. We're still in touch and supporting each other all the way. I wrote more. I did an online bootcamp, dragging myself up at 5am to be live in America. I went to writer's festivals, author talks at the local library, a masterclass with Sue Whiting, and a 'Polishing, Pitching and getting Published' seminar with Heather Curdie from Penguin Random House and Suzanne O’Sullivan from Hachette. I joined a critique group, found a facebook community and joined SCBWI (the society of children's book writers and illustrators).
I joined 'Scribbles' where I was tasked with making my own notebook cover, on which I included one of my favourite quotes from the Wizard of Oz: 'You've always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.'
I entered, and was shortlisted in the Scribbles Creative Writing Awards. And I wrote. A lot.
I have made it my goal to do one thing every day towards the business of writing, whether it's reading, making notes, networking, marketing, listening to podcasts, researching publishers, critiquing others, getting, or working through feedback, discussing ideas and always being open to learning.
I feel privileged to have met, and become part of this amazing community of authors where I can be myself. I understand this is hard work. I know I can do it.
2019 - watch out. I'm coming.