THE YEAR OF PUTTING WRITING FIRST
As most of you would know, I left my job at Walker Books Australia about two and a half years ago. (I know! It has been that long.) My reasons for leaving a job that I really liked were many and complex, but they boiled down to two main things. 1) I was tired. 2) I wanted to devote more time to my writing. I especially wanted to get the book that was buzzing around in my head, out of my head and onto paper and I found I couldn’t do that while working full-time and commuting each day to the city. That book was Missing.
I have not regretted leaving the day job for even one second. It was absolutely the right thing to do. I love my new life. I love my daily commute downstairs to my home office. I love the range of work I get to do. I love being my own boss and making choices for my future. I love having the time to visit schools and speak at festivals. I love having my own freelance editing, consulting and mentoring business.
It is time again to take stock. Because even though in the past two and a half years I have done a LOT more writing than I had done when I was working at Walker, somehow writing has once again taken a backseat to all the other things I do and has been squeezed into tiny snatches of time.
So I have declared 2019 as the Year of Putting Writing First.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing school visits, workshops and festivals any longer. In fact it means the opposite –
I want to do more! Talking to kids about books and story is essential to my writing. It is where I get to meet my readers,
to see what excites them and where I get to share my passion for books and reading, writing and story.
And I love that too much to give it up.
It also doesn’t mean that I am packing up my freelance business. It just means that I am scaling it down a little. Being selective about the jobs I take on and making sure that I don’t overcommit. (Which I have been very guilty of lately.)
What it does mean is that I am putting writing at the top of my to-do list, instead of letting it slide to the bottom constantly.
It means that I need to be disciplined and focused and determined. It means that I need to write daily, to experiment, to work on developing my craft, to challenge myself, to try new things. And to this end, I am embarking on an ambitious historical middle grade mystery novel set in 1902 Adelaide. (Which scares the bejesus out of me, I tell you!) But imagine my delight when I was awarded a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship in Adelaide, which I will be taking in April.
I am using this time not only to develop this novel, but also to help me get into the zone and to make putting my writing first as natural as breathing.
Who’s with me? Who else is going to make 2019 THE YEAR OF PUTTING WRITING FIRST? Any takers?
(I’ll check back in 2020 and let you know how I went.)