I haven't written anything for a while. I tell my kids that when 'Mum's a tappin', don't come yappin'....But there has been little tapping of late.
For me, writing is like surfing. It picks me up on a wave and whooshes me toward the shore. Powerful stuff that I have little control over. But sometimes that creative sea is flat. Still. The last month or so, that has been the ocean I've been bobbing on.
But today I woke up and felt so grateful to the universe for giving me the space to wait and float until the next wave comes in. Three years ago, I was in a terrible slump and felt completely uninspired. I'd just completed a law degree and found it to be so depressing. The law. Justice. Contract Law. Land Law. Family Law which was probably the most dismal. I realised that I'd spent years of my life writing awful assignments, attending local courts, reading the most tiresome texts and it had all been for nothing because the idea of working for a law firm triggered suicidal depression. Not good. All I had ever really wanted was to write. Ever since I was a little girl and saw My Brilliant Career, I wanted to be that character , Sybylla Melvyn. She was my first heroine. I loved her spirit. Her inability to be tamed. Her dread of falling in love. She was my literary Queen Elizabeth the First. Willful. Wild. And wordy.
So early in 2010, I decided to put the law degree in the bottom drawer and put on my writer's cap. I would be a writer. It wasn't a vague possibility, it was a determined surety. I screwed my courage to that sticking place and I refused to fail.
For many years I had toyed with the idea of being a full-time writer. I'd dabbled. It was a lifetime hobby. Scribbling stories, scripts, plays, poems and sweeping romances. Crime thrillers. Historical novels. I had many in my linen cupboard. They weren't that good, really. But each one came closer to me finding my own voice.
In 2010, I found my voice. I wrote my story. The story of my wanton youth as a rock n roll groupie, fooling around with the likes of INXS and Duran Duran. I wrote of my lofty ambition to win an Academy Award (could still happen!). It was my first tentative step and I sent it off to the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, in the Emerging Writer category. I so desperately wanted to emerge. From domestic drudgery to the new world of the literati. (I had no idea, at that stage, how very unglittery the literary world is!) I got shortlisted. It was one of those snapshot days of my life, a moment suspended in time forever, the day I got that phone call. I didn't win but it didn't matter. It really was that cliched...an honour just to be nominated!
That got my toe in the door and I soon had a literary agent. I walked around for days saying....my agent this, my agent that, it just sounded so goddamn professional and impressive. The darling girl managed to sell my book within two months which literally made me cry, big fat tears of joy. The process of editing and choosing a cover and getting endorsements and writing the acknowledgement page all felt surreal until I received my box of fresh, clean, delicious paper-smelling books in the post. More tears. It was a bucket-list moment.
It spurred me on to write and write and write. More and more. I started having my work appear in places like The Hoopla and Mamamia and ivillage, online publications that I loved reading. I was having other pieces picked up here and there and felt a childish thrill each time something got picked up. It was like fishing and it felt great. I wrote a piece for The Emerging Writer 2013 book which must be the best annual guide for writers.
And then my agent sold another of my manuscripts, only a few weeks ago, although as the ink is not yet dry on that deal, I will speak of it no more. And next week I have my first short story being published in my favourite anthology.
I've moved house and I now have a room with a view. Of the water. The perfect setting for a writer.
The muse is whispering to me and telling me that she can sense a wave on the horizon. A big one. And it's heading my way. I'm ready. Breathless. What will the next story be I wonder??