Thank you, and Goodbye

Photo: Goodbye by woodleywonderworks
Photo: Goodbye by woodleywonderworks (CC by 2.0)

 

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted as regularly as I normally do recently. I had some hard thinking to do. And some prioritising of my life, as one should do every now and then.

What do I really want to do with my life?
What is actually important?

You see, it’s been a pretty tough two-and-a-half years. I’ve worked full-time, studied part-time, written and published 4 books and attempted to be involved in my family. I love writing, I really do. But I live in an area where writing conferences, retreats, workshops, author talks and networking opportunities are far and few between. I go to as many as I can, but the last one in my area was five months ago. (Well, the one I could attend at any rate. I didn’t have a car for the one two weeks ago.)

I see a lot of events going on in other parts of the state and the country. However, to attend even the closest ones is a four-hour drive minimum. And the really good ones I want to go to are a two-hour plane flight. Plus accommodations, food, and the flight home again. It’s too far out of my reach. Even after  I finish my diploma next year, and have more time for writing, it will still be out of my reach. What kind of writer would I be if I’m isolated from those opportunities? Yes, I have the internet, but the internet doesn’t provide interaction with real people. (You know what I mean.)

I have two choices. Move more than 2,000klms from where I am currently living…or quit writing.

And so, after much debate, doubt, and anguish it really is goodbye.

It’s goodbye because I have had to make a very, very hard decision.  One that I was in tears over. One in which I have to take a breath, close my eyes and leap. Because if I don’t at least try, I will regret it for the rest of my life. One in which I am very, very glad to have a loving supporting husband, and amazing, wonderful friends and family – all of whom believe in me. You see, it’s not an easy choice to resign your full-time job, when you have no job to go to, and move your family and everything you own more than 2,000klms away from home just to follow a dream

A dream which may very well come to nothing.

Am I scared? Absolutely.
Am I telling myself I’m stupid to give up a full-time job in this economy? You bet ya.
Am I really doing this? Apparently.

Goodbye to Far North Queensland. Goodbye to friends. Goodbye to my family. Goodbye to the life I’ve known for years.

I will still need to write around a job (when I get one), study (for a little while longer) and family. But I will be able to take advantage of so many more opportunities and the biggest leap of all. Really taking the chance to focus more on writing, and getting books out there.

Over the next few weeks, our house will be packed into boxes and we will make the long drive down to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to start our new lives. I don’t know how often I will be able to update this blog during that time. But when we get settled and figure out what internet we have available, I’ll make sure to post an update.

So here goes. Deep breath. Wish me luck, and I’ll see you on the flip side.

 

 

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Astronaut, Oceanographer, Actor, Teacher…Author?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What? Grow up? Photo: Kids by gemteck1 (CC BY 2.0)
Photo: Kids by gemteck1 (CC BY 2.0)

What? Grow UP?

I’m sure you’ve been asked the question. I know I have. I wanted to be a great many things when I ‘grew up’. And in the end, I became something even better.

♦ Astronaut.
I’d seen a documentary and thought that would be the coolest job in the world. Only thing is, I don’t deal with inertia well. I’ve been on one roller-coaster ride in my life and that was more than enough. A never to be repeated experience, thank you very much. Plus when I started to learn about space at school, it was interesting but it didn’t grab me. It would have been a hard slog learning all the science involved. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I was and am, much happier letting the stars of Star Wars, Star Trek and Firefly fly me through their imaginary space.

♦ Oceanographer
If you know me for any length of time, you know I’m a tragic Titanic fanatic. Not the 1997 movie. I was crazy about the Titanic long before that. Since the day my brother received a book by Robert Ballard on the Titanic, for his 11th birthday. He wasn’t that interested, but the second I got my hands on that book, I was hooked. At first it was just the ship, then ship wreaks in general, then oceanic plates, marine life, even down to Hydrothermal Vents and black smokers. The underwater world fascinates me. My attention has long since departed from the extraterrestrial and fixed itself firmly in the deep. The Titanic will always be a love of mine, but I will watch any documentary, read any book or article on underwater exploration. For all my interest in that world within a world, I never got the chance to study Oceanography. Life had other plans.

♦ Actor
For some reason people never expect shy, introverted kids to like acting. It’s the life for the extroverts. The attention-seekers. The little show offs. So when I saw my first live play (and a musical to boot – Annie) when I was 13, I never thought to ever be on the stage. The very same year, I was allowed to take drama at school. And loved it. I may have been shy, I may have been teased, I may have been uncomfortable in my own skin…but on stage – I wasn’t me. I was a character breathed to life with costumes and lights. It was magical. And apparently I had enough talent and tanacity to make it through all 4 years of high school drama with straight A’s. I signed up for any musical going and became a member of the amateur theatre company. I never got the leads, but I always got the roles I auditioned for. And once I got a minor lead because with ten days to go the actor pulled out, and the director know I could learn the lines in time, and hit it out of the ball park. Which…cough….I did.  (Actually, come to think of it…that happened three times. I got minor leads because other people pulled out at the last minute. )
The first time my husband saw me, I was on stage. He said I wasn’t the prettiest girl there, but I was the most magnetic. I owned that stage, and he couldn’t take his eyes off me. I love acting. But I haven’t done it in years. Yet again, life took me away from my plans to audition for NIDA, and to have a go at the life of an actor. (Probably, just as well 🙂 )

♦ Teacher
Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. That’s what they say. I couldn’t be an Actor, but I could do the next best thing. I could be an English and Drama teacher. That at least, was solid, mostly predicable work. I had plans for it. I had the course picked out, and the university application letters in my hand. I had it all worked out. But again, that little four letter word ‘life’ got in the way. It threw such a huge curve ball, that we ended up moving states, towns, comfort zones, and leaving that particular dream behind.  I could no longer afford the luxury of dreaming about attending university. I needed a job, and it was a case of ‘any job’. Right now.

♦ Admin Officer
And that’s how I started in Admin. Admin was never something I ever dreamed of doing as a kid. I never looked up at the stars imagining that one day I’d work at an office, behind a computer, shuffling papers. But it’s funny how life works out. Since I was in Admin anyway, I did the trade certificates that went with it. So I am a qualified, more than a decade employed, Admin officer. Not an Astronaut, not an Oceanographer, not an actor, not even a teacher. An Admin officer.

♦Author
Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be an Author. Sure I loved reading. Still do. Sure I used to waste time scribbling crappy stories, and pretend interviews with imaginary people on scrap paper and notepads long disappeared. People didn’t write books. Books just magically appeared on the shelves of libraries. Didn’t they?
Then one day I had an idea. I didn’t like how the ending of a show happened, and I complained to my husband.
I said “It should have ended this way.”.
And he said the immortal words. “Well, write it.”
And I did. 8 months later, I had a 102,000 word manuscript and the bug had bitten hard. Nearly nine years after that, I published my first book. I am an Author. For nine years I dreamed I would be, and for 15 months I have been.

It just goes to show. What you think you’re going to be ‘when you grow up’, may never happen. Life has a funny way of putting up road blocks, but at the same time takes you on a journey that leads to places you could never have imagined.

Dreams and the daily grind

 

Photo: Asleep at the wheel by Aaron Jacobs CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo: Asleep at the wheel by Aaron Jacobs
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ana Spoke recently posted this on her blog – Why dream about tomorrow when you can live it today

I’m happy for her, that she will live the ‘writer’s’ dream. To be a full time writer. At least for six months. I hope it lasts longer than that. This is my dream too. To be a full time writer. In that all elusive ‘one day’, I’m sure I’ll get there.

At the moment I have a full-time job, and I write around that. I also write around a part-time study course and my family. I’m a writer, but I’m a writer on the side. I don’t do a too bad a job of it. After all I’ve got 3 book already published and one nearly there. But living ‘the dream’ around the daily grind can be exhausting. What keeps me going is the notion that I will be a full time writer, someday.

I’m not stupid. I know that dreaming with a plan of ‘someday’ means that more likely than not, the dream will never eventuate. I’ve seen it time and time again. I have my goals. I simply don’t know how long it will take to get there. I’m happy…maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the right word, but I’m…assured in the knowledge that I am taking it one step at a time. On those days when it is all too hard, and the road ahead is too long, I can look behind me and see how far I have come.Read More »

Chasing the dream

I read a blog post by Kristen Lamb the other day. Basically it says that of all the people who want to write a book (and there is quite a number) only 5% will do it. There are not many people who can do what a writer does. Sits down for hours, days, weeks, months and years to write 10,000,000’s of words, nearly day in – day out.

Internet Meme - http://imgur.com/gallery/3RTt6
Internet Meme – http://imgur.com/gallery/3RTt6

If there are a 1,000,000 people who want to write a book only 50,000 will start to write it.

Of the 50,000 only 2,500 will complete the book.

Of the 2,500 only 125 will publish

Of the 125 only 6 will start to write the next book

 

(Oh, goody the odds are in my favour. 😀 )

 

But seriously, until you start, it’s hard to understand just how complex and time-consuming it is.

 

Being a self-published author brings things into a whole new mindset. Not only do you need to start, complete, edit, re-edit, publish and write the next book, you’ve got a whole list of other things to worry about.

 

 

Read More »

Sky’s the limit

 

Photo: Milky Way by DS Dragon Photography
Photo: Milky Way by DS Dragon Photography

 

I know everyone gives the same advice.
But it works.
I don’t know why that surprised me. After all, it must be tried and true or no one would get anywhere with anything.

When you’re a kid you get told – dream big.
So you do.
Then as an adult you look at that dream and you think it’s too big. It’s so big that you’ll never be able to achieve it. Most of the time, you bury the dream, put it on the shelf or let it go. After all, this is the real world. Who has time for childish dreams anyway?Read More »