I have a young adult fiction book coming out. Let’s just get that out of the way. But more than being just a publicity post, I am writing this for those who always had that niggling thing at the back of their heads – the thing they’ve always wanted to do but have been putting off forever.
It can be something as small as taking that cooking lesson you’ve always wanted to try, or go parasailing and conquer your fear of heights. It can be changing careers because you wanted to do something meaningful in your lifetime.
It can be anything.
Mine was to publish a book. I’ve had that dream forever. But I was afraid to begin because it is an enormous task. I’ve dabbled in fiction writing for a very long time. I even sent one short story to a creative writing professor while I was still in university doing my journalism course. He said it had potential and I should keep going.
I didn’t. I was told there was no money in fiction writing so I had to stick with journalism.
When I first arrived in Australia over a decade ago, I was home alone a lot while looking for a job. I wanted to use that time to start writing. So I did. I went as far as six chapters before giving up and looking for a “real job”.
After I had my daughter, I decided to tell her the stories that my own mother made up to keep us kids amused. But then I quickly realised that if Mama forgot the story and we forgot the story, it wouldn’t be passed on to the next generation.
So I decided to write that story and self published it. That’s when I realised I had no excuse for putting off writing that novel I wanted to write. It helped that I already had an idea I wanted to explore. I used my culture’s mythological creatures for my debut novel The Girl Between Two Worlds. I was ready to do it and so I did. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote every chance I got.
The first draft was horrendous. I’m not just saying that to humble-brag. It is really horrible and will not see the light of day ever again. But instead of giving up, I learned from it. I took courses, went to seminars and conferences, read up from the experts, hired manuscript assessors, worked with an editor and got feedback for my work.
I wanted to say that if I died tomorrow at least I did something to fulfil that one constant dream I had. I wrote my novel while my daughter was still small and I had a full work load. It was hard but I’m telling you, it is possible.
What I’m saying is, find the time, not the excuse. It can be done. If you want to know more about my writing journey, check out the article on the NSW Writers’ Centre website. I hope you get some tips from my experience.