If someone had told that one day I'd be living on the Central Coast, in a house with two gardens with a bindii plantation, doing casual teaching while writing a series of paranormal novels, I would have said they were nuts!
Yet, it's funny how things turn out. And, in my case, it's been for the best.
Since beginning this incredible writing journey, I've experienced exhilaration like no other each time I write another scene or dialogue for my characters.
Only chocolate comes close!I've also had the privilege of being shortlisted twice in both national and international writing competitions.
So, what have I learnt over these last three years? I could write a thesis on it, but here it is in digestible form:
#1 Never underestimate the value of your writers group. They are there to help you develop as a writer and as a person.
Too often, as writers, we can be blind to faults in our manuscripts. It's a case of, "the forest for the trees" syndrome. We're too close to our "baby"and don't see the typos, missing words, dodgy grammar, creative syntax, plot holes, scatty dialogue and structure. They don't.
In this way, I've also learnt to accept criticism - albeit constructive - which is necessary for any writer.
Yes, I have a thin skin like everyone else, and tend to get defensive about my creation, but it's part of the growing process. I have to accept that, unlike the Ancient Greek goddess Athena who sprang fully formed and perfect from the head of her father Zeus, my manuscript did not! It takes draft after draft to get it right.
Put that into a mathematical formula and it goes something like this: w + cc + h = pm
writer + constructive criticism + humility = publishable manuscript
#2 Write what you love; what you enjoy reading, NOT what is trendy. Because the chances are, by the time you complete writing that hot topic, everyone else will be on the next best thing!
I love vampire stories. Always have, always will. No apologies.
Since I was a child I drawn to tales of the paranormal - witches, ghosts, vampires (but oddly enough, never zombies. There's something about rotting corpses that turns me off!) - and I devoured them (excuse the pun).
As I grew up, that didn't change. My favourite books are by Anne Rice, Maggie Shayne (I can't get enough of her Wings In The Night vampire series), Charlaine Harris, Tanya Huff and MaryJanice Davidson. They dominate my bookshelves.
Now, I've written my own, which hopefully will be released in December - unless of course I win that Choc Lit competition.
#3 Never give up writing or believing in yourself. Writing is both a passion as well as a craft. Hone it, by writing, writing, writing. If you have full confidence in your manuscript, don't let anyone put you off. Publishers have been known to get it wrong. Think of all those who rejected JK Rowling, Matthew Reilly, Christopher Paolini, Amanda Hocking and those are just ones who immediately spring to mind.
As writers, we live in an exciting age. We don't need to wait for publishers to accept our work. There are so many other options available to us now, especially since the stigma of self-publishing has finally been lifted. There are some brilliant indie writers making a successful living selling their books online. And their works are just as well-written (sometimes better) than those traditionally published.
If you want to write, then write and indulge that passion. And when you're finished, share it with the rest of us.
Finally, to all that, I would add chocolate, coffee and a nice glass of red wine. Those three things I definitely can't live without!
So, what are your experiences as a writer? (Bloggers are writers too!) I'd love to know.