Well... I've certainly been busy since my last update! Apparently, my favourite activity this year has been 'Taking On More Commitments Than I Actually Have Time For', and my second favourite past-time is a game called 'Putting Unnecessary Pressure On Myself', so it’s been a rather challenging and stressful few months, but now that it's all over, I realise how incredibly rewarding it has all been.
My biggest, most momentous achievement so far this year has been finishing the first draft of my manuscript, two weeks before my self-imposed deadline of my 30th birthday. Words can’t actually describe how I felt once I'd printed out the completed draft, had it bound at good ol’ Officeworks and placed it on my desk at home. To be completely truthful, I cried and cried and cried. Like, the really ugly way I cry when I watch Grey’s Anatomy (my best friend Ash will know exactly what this looks like). I was just so overwhelmed. I was obviously ecstatic that I’d finished, but also sad, because that immensely creative and solitary part of the process was over. The world I’d created inside my own head would no longer be mine alone. I was also bursting with pride, after wanting nothing more than to write a book for the most part of my existence, but filled with instant terror that no-one would like it and that it would remain unpublished for all eternity. So I sat on the couch and ugly cried for a while and then made myself some dinner. And just like that, it was done!
The manuscript is now safely shut away inside the drawer of my desk, waiting patiently to be read when I feel ready to revisit it. In the meantime, I’m refilling my ‘inspiration reserves’ by reading a bunch of children’s classics and other fantastic books that have been sitting neglected on my bookshelf for months.
I’ve been feeling very creatively drained since finishing, in a way that I have never experienced before, so I took a couple of weeks 'off', giving my brain a chance to properly relax for the first time all year. I played computer games, watched The Bachelorette, I even went on an actual HOLIDAY! And now, I’m already itching to get back to it! Though, I have to say, I am dreading the next part of the process a little bit, because it requires a certain brutality with a red pen that I’m not sure I have the heart for! If anyone has any tips for editing your own novel, SEND THEM MY WAY!
I’ve had a lot of people ask about the manuscript itself, and when everyone will get to read it. In a perfect world, it’ll be on the shelves of bookstores around the world in a year’s time and you can all go and buy it! But until then, I will be sharing it with a group of what’s known as ‘beta readers’ early in 2018, for the purpose of getting feedback and constructive criticism. If you love Young Adult fiction and fantasy books, you could be the person I'm looking for! I'm particularly interested in finding actual teenage betas, so if you know any voracious teen readers, please tell them to get in touch!
While all that was going on, the WOLVES short story compilation (edited by yours truly) entered its next phase of development... Needle in the Hay (an awesome Aussie short story website) ran a crowdfunding campaign for a limited-release print run of WOLVES and now we have our backers and the books are ready to be printed! Thank you to those of you who supported the campaign! Supporting independent Aussie publications is essential in fostering new voices in Australian fiction, so thank you for ordering our fun little anthology, you’ve honestly no idea how much it means to the writers! While it's no longer possible to nab a print version of WOLVES (at this stage), and ebook version will become available very soon on my WORKS page, for those who missed out!
The other Needle in the Hay collaboration, Seasons of Discontent, featuring my YA short story ‘The Edge of Winter’, is almost ready to be launched, so please keep your eyes peeled for another crowdfunding campaign for that one soon! We’d love to sell even more copies of Seasons of Discontent than we did of WOLVES, so please get behind the wonderful Aussie initiative.
The one-woman (and now one-man, too) show that I wrote with my dear friend Francine Cain is about to go into its workshop phase, which is staggeringly exciting! I cannot WAIT to hear the words out loud and see the production take shape! Definitely look out for this one next year, it’s going to be awesome! I can’t reveal the title or anything at all, really, but you’ll know it when you see it! Haha...
While I’m already being annoyingly vague and mysterious, I can tell you that I’ve just started working on another theatre-related project with a couple of incredible people, which will hopefully become an incredible THING at some point in the future. I also have a super secret writing project in the works that I should be able to announce within the next month or so. I’m SO excited about this one, so—trust me—you’ll hear about it!
I know I’ve said this a few times now, but the main reason I write these little (or not-so-little) updates is to hopefully spark a bit of inspiration in all of YOU out there! A lot of people talk about writing (or doing any number of things, really) but put it off because of other commitments. Yes, life can get busy, but making time for creativity is so important! And this year has been hard, I will definitely admit that, but it has been one of the most rewarding, fulfilling years of my life.
Pick up a pen, grab your laptop, doodle some ideas in a journal... go and CREATE. We all have stories within us and the world needs to hear them—especially at times like this when the world around us is pretty much going to shit. Tell your story! Even if you only share it with those nearest and dearest, never underestimate how much your own experiences can affect the lives of others.
If anyone has any questions, as always, feel free to ask. Oh, and I’ll have another Recent Reads post coming soon if anyone needs some book recommendations! If you haven’t seen the first few, you can find them here, here aaaaand here.
Happy reading and writing everyone! x