Life Lessons, Up Close & Personal, Writing

The Winds of Change.

timechangesWith the end of my University studies, it brings about a wind of change. While one door closes, another door opens.  Finally escaping those shackles may see a new freedom, but it also brings with it a lot of responsibility.  As I’ve always wanted to write, and my husband telling me that now is the time to do so, I’m not only feeling a bit lost, but also alone.

I’ve never been good at change. When I was a kid I would get extremely nervous whenever I was placed in new situations. I would have great plans to undertake something different with my life, but then I would think about it for too long; weigh the pros and cons, and then abandon the idea altogether. I was afraid of doing something that was different with my life and as a result I would fail to make any real progress.

Late last year saw a dramatic change in my life; my husband got a job in a town about 95 kilometres (59 miles) away from home. Rather than travel the distance every day, he decided to stay there during the week and come home for the weekends.  I had not anticipated seeing myself as a single mother or weekend wife. This was going to be a real challenge; a change in my life that I didn’t dare think about, and yet, strangely that is exactly what got me through the whole ordeal during those early months. I refused to think about the situation and just got on with what needed to be done. There is an element of truth in Nike’s tagline of ‘Just Do It’; you just do what you have to do.  I found the resolve to keep on going, and now over twelve months later in the same situation, I’m still using it.

Since then, I’ve come to learn that:-

  1. We’re stronger than we think we are.
  2. Being alone is not always a bad thing – in fact, it makes us more independent.
  3. If we’re not changing, we’re not growing.

There’s no point in worrying, especially regarding those things that are out of our control. What we can control is our attitude and our approach, one day at a time.

Are you afraid of change? Did you ever find yourself having to rely upon your inner strength? What situation have you been in that made you feel alone? Did you find yourself in a situation where you’re now glad you’ve gained your independence?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

Writing

A Stubborn Writer.

In my household we are each named after a particular character from the Mr. Men Show.  I am lovingly referred to as ‘Mr. Stubborn’.  Okay, yes, I admit I am stubborn (I can thank my Scottish father for that one).  My mother told me once that I was very determined and very, very obstinate.  I think she said it to me in an effort to change my ways.  Instead, I wear it as a sort of badge.  After all, aren’t these some of the traits an author needs in order to succeed?

A stubborn writer:-

  • Decides that if they are going to be a writer, then they are one.
  • Refuses to give up, despite the number of rejections.
  • Continues to write, even though they may think their writing sucks.
  • Refuses to see that their writing sucks (until they are politely advised not to read their work through rose tinted glasses).
  • Persists in believing they will ‘make it’ as a writer one day.

How stubborn are you with your writing?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

Writing

Finding Advice at Author Talks.

Recently, I attended an author visit by John Flanagan, author of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.  The series began as a collection of short stories for his young son, who was not interested in reading.  Although the series was originally meant for young boys, the series has a large following amongst girls (John took his publishers advice on introducing a strong female).  The books have since gone on to sell millions of copies throughout the world, been translated into various languages and has won many awards.

John was entertaining, informative and great with the children.  A highlight was his ‘show and tell’ – being a longbow, which he got some of the children to demonstrate.  Here is his advice to writers just starting out:-

  • Plan your story – you wouldn’t get in your car without knowing exactly where you were going.
  • Story ideas can be found anywhere – it could be as simple as just walking down the street.
  • Character names can also be found anywhere – one character’s name was found upon a billboard in Tamworth advertising a local business (of course, some alterations had to be made).
  • Although rejection letters can feel personal, your story may not suit the publishers’ requirements, or the publisher may recently have accepted something similar.  John was rejected about nine times!
  • Be persistent – John Flanagan almost gave up trying until one of his children reminded him of those short stories he had written some time ago (they later went on to become the Ranger’s Apprentice series).

Attending author talks can be very rewarding – not only do you learn about the author’s work, you also get a feel for their personality and see how they interact with their readers.   I recommend it to anyone.

Image by Debbie Johansson.