Dear twenty-something unpublished self,
As I write this you are about to embark on your author journey. Yes, you read that correctly – your author journey. As of August 20, 2019 you are a published author!
I won’t spoil the moment by telling you how it feels. (By the way, it’s amazing). But what I will say is that you have found that ‘something’ you’ve always felt you’ve been searching for.
It’s not like you grew up wanting to be an author. You had other dreams.
Remember back when you were just a teen, with those wild and glorious ambitions of being on stage singing in front of a sold-out audience of loyal fans? Then when you realised singing wasn’t really your forte, your dream changed to being in front of the camera opposite Patrick Swayze or Keanu Reeves, or accepting your Oscar from Meryl Streep? At one stage you had your heart set on drama school, but it wasn’t to be.
No matter how grandiose, it was difficult not realising those dreams. For most teens those dreams come and go. But for you, they didn’t. Drama and acting is something you will always regret not pursuing.
Although, as it always does, your defence mechanism will kick in. Because that’s who you are.
You will tell yourself that life got in the way. That if things had been different, if life hadn’t dealt you those cards, if you hadn’t made certain choices, then your path may well have been different.
But after years of thinking that way, you will realise that the path you’re on is the path you were always meant to be on.
I promise you will, even though right now it doesn’t feel that way.
What you will come to realise is that the common denominator in your dreams has always been storytelling. Whether listening to the storytelling lyrics of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen, or watching actors on the big screen bring a character to life, it’s always been story that has drawn you in. Even your earliest memories involve telling stories.
The role playing with your Barbies in their wooden doll house was more like a soap opera playing out day after day than child’s play. And remember when you’d watch Punky Brewster then head outside to continue on the story (as Punky herself of course)? And how as a child you’d escape reality by being drawn into whatever book you were reading, transported in the world of the character as if nothing else existed? Piecing it all together the main theme in all of this is your love of story and character.
But it will be a little while before you realise you are meant to tell stories.
When you begin blogging in 2009 you will begin the journey to finding your writing voice. Then in 2010 you’ll attempt at writing your first full length novel. It will be the story that’s been playing on loop every night you’ve gone to bed since 1989. Yep, that one. But it won’t be the amazing film reel that you imagined every night in your head. It will be full of head-hopping, info-dumping and ‘telling not showing’ that all new writers fall trap to. But what it will do, is ignite your passion for story telling in the written form and bring awaken something inside you that’s been lying dormant for years.
Getting that story out of your head will also allow space for new story ideas. And in 2012, you will attempt NaNoWriMo for the very first time. It will be the first novel you complete a full first draft with, but it won’t be your debut novel.
It won’t be until 2014, again during NaNoWriMo, where the seed of an idea will blossom on the page and will eventually become, your debut novel: The Memories We Hide.
During the subsequent redrafting and rewriting you will begin to realise how much you enjoy writing. How every time you sit down at the computer to write, you feel a sense of joy and purpose. Yes, it sounds a little clichéd, but you will find your purpose – that something you were meant to do – write stories.
Along the way you will overcome, what is at times, crippling self-doubt. Those voices in your head don’t always tell you fictional stories. They try and tell you that you’re no good. That you’re just a dreamer and you’ll never achieve anything.
It will take some fighting, and although you won’t completely slay the self-doubt dragon, you will eventually find the confidence to believe in yourself.
You will begin to understand that you don’t need to write the perfect story. You just need to write something with heart and from the heart. Something you believe in. Because if you believe in it, so will your reader.
And then, in August 2019, at the age of 43, you will embark on what will become the start of a career. And although it won’t be in the traditional sense with a traditional publisher, you will be just as, even more perhaps, excited about your journey as an indie author. You will have complete control of your stories and your publication processes and love it. Because, yes, you still are a control freak! Some things never change.
So, dear twenty-something dreamer, as a creative soul trying to find your place in the world, I will leave with the words of A.A. Milne’s character the wise, Winnie The Pooh …
“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Jodi Gibson is an Australian women’s fiction author of both contemporary dramas, and light-hearted romantic comedy. She lives in regional Victoria on a mini-farm with her husband, daughters, two golden retrievers, one horse, eight chickens, and a cat who rules over them all.
Jodi blogs about writing and her indie-publishing journey on her website, where she also runs a popular series ‘A Day in the Life of a Writer’ detailing the daily lives of both emerging and well-known authors. When Jodi’s not writing or blogging, you’ll find her with her nose in a book, or in the kitchen baking and dreaming of her next travelling adventure.
Jodi’s debut novel, a contemporary drama set in rural Victoria, The Memories We Hide, is available now from the following retailers: eBook and Paperback (or ask at your local independent book store). For a VIP newsletter & free novella, click here.
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