I don’t think the universe plays with us. I don’t believe things happen for a reason. I think stuff just happens and we do with it what we can. Take from it what we will.
Having said all that, sometimes weird shit happens in life and you can’t help but get a bit gobsmacked. Like recently. I’d lost touch with a very good friend – the type you went through the ‘boy band’ stage with in high school (I was going to marry Matt Goss from Bros), and talked to on the phone (the kind that hung on the wall and had a cord) after school for hours even though you’d been together all day. The type of friend you sat up till 2am with on weekends scaring yourselves silly watching Poltergeist. Okay, I’m showing my age with that but meh, you know what I mean.
She was a bestie.
One day in February, I’m heading home from a city meet up with a couple of Twitter-found writing buddies. I’m feeling really psyched about this whole writing thing. I’ve got like twenty followers on Twitter so my networking is going gang-busters. Any day now I’ll finish that second manuscript and in just a short year or two after that it will be ready to send to someone. Probably my sister.
Truth is, I’ve been farting around with writing for years. Went back to University as a mature aged student and got a BA in Professional Writing, then slogged out a couple of manuscripts. Made a few half-ass attempts to send the first novel out to publishers. I’m doing the seminars, I’m doing the writing groups, I’m going to conferences, entering competitions. But what I’m really doing is skirting around the peripherals, play-acting. Dipping a very hesitant toe into the scary waters of the writing-for-a-living ocean.
It’s so deep and full of sharks out there. I can’t bring myself to jump in and swim. I’m Australian. Sharks get us. (on astonishingly rare occasion, but that’s beside the point.)
Then, as it should be because we live on the island of Social Media, I get a message on Facebook. A hello from a voice I was scared I’d never hear again.
My buddy is back. She wants to know if this is me. Hell’s yes!
Stuff happened in her life and she took a giant time out. But game is back on. I’m so bloody happy to hear see her words on my smudgy phone screen. It was quite literally (yeah I know, figuratively) the best day EVA!
But then the double whammy. She is doing great. Been really busy (wait for it) Writing.
Not only that. Her ass is so in gear that she has self-pubbed three fantasy novels and is getting cheques from Amazon, she runs a successful blog and she’s got a very healthy Twitter following. Thank you very much.
Holy crap on toast.
Wasn’t expecting that. And hell did I need it. It was a kick up my own butt with my own foot, not an easy task. I knew she had dabbled with the occasional short story competition but that was all. In the five years since we’d lost contact, I’d written a lot of words that few people got to see. And when she asked me how my writing was going, after she told me about hers, I was a lanky, two legged deer in headlights.
I am very much in love with writing, my second manuscript, at 200k+ says perhaps too much. I am loving words when I should be Elsa’ing them and letting them go. I’m sure as hell acting like I love writing. I’ve got my Writers Victoria membership, I’m in a long term writers group, I’ve done the manuscript assessment thing, gone to seminars. And I’m spoilt. I get to travel a lot with hubby, all around the world with little else to do but write. The second manuscript was completed in a cocktail bar in Wuhan, China. (I didn’t get any cocktails till the last word was done. Amazing how that helps typing speed.) The first manuscript had been written in so many different places I’ve lost track -Las Vegas, Melbourne, Singapore, Vancouver and Fiji are some I remember.
So how was my writing going, my friend asked? Slowly. Like, mummified snail slowly. What have I been doing all this time, as she waded her way through the self-pub swamp and just got it out there? Where the heck are my sixty rejection letters? My query letters? My social media network? My online community? My own bloody published works?
As much as I might look like a duck, and might sound like a duck – am I a duck?
Obviously I’m pretty sure I’m not a duck. That was one of those allegory thingys. But point is, no. I’m not a duck writer. At least, not the sort of writer I want to be – Published. Rejected. Out there giving it a real go.
In the immortal words of Gwen Stefani -‘Whatcha waiting, Whatcha waiting, whatcha waiting for? Take a chance you stupid -’
You get the point. Thing was, I had no idea what I was waiting for. I hadn’t realised till I got in touch with my friend, saw what she had done for herself, how much I was dragging my feet. I’d done little things, but nothing too scary. And if I really want to do this, I need to scare the bejesus out of myself.
My head, my achy fingers and the weirdos in my head tell me I want this.
I am so proud and insanely jealous of what my friend, Aderyn Wood has achieved and when I’m writing my acknowledgements in my first published novel, she will be right up there at the top of the list.
It might say something like this: Dear Addie, thanks for the firecracker up the ass. May the burn long continue. Tell the Universe I said hi.
Check out Aderyn Wood‘s website for a fantasy fix.
Hey peeps, did you have a firecracker moment or more of a slow burn, like one of those candles they use for ear-waxing? Would love to hear about the moment you decided to step up the writing habit a notch.