My Journey Of Becoming A Published Novelist, by Jenn J McLeod
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Let’s face it, those of you who have been there done that already know this author business is not all book-signings and Sunday brunches. Mostly we are hunched over a keyboard – a kind of self-imposed solitary confinement – developing addictions to coffee, chocolate and Tim Tam Slams (I dare you to stop at one) and filling our heads with fictional friends rather than real ones.
When I came onboard for Writing Novels in Australia, I wondered what I might have to say in twelve blog posts over twelve months that would be of interest to other writers. After all, I am not an expert. I don’t even have a book out there yet and I hold no Creative Writing degree. (To be honest, studying has never been my strong point. For me, learning to dissect something you love, simply to understand why you love it, makes me not love it so much any more – too many rules, too much control. Structure and discipline is one thing, but to control is to limit. (Agree? Disagree? Maybe you’ll share your thoughts. I’d like to get some discussion going with each post.)
For those who don’t know me, I am soon-to-be-published, having sold two novels to Simon & Schuster last year. My debut release, House for all Seasons, is out on March 1st. Getting to this point, however, took a long time and, to borrow from Mr Twain, not until I finally threw off the bowlines, sailed away from the safe harbour, and let the trade winds catch my sails did I find the courage to:
Explore. Dream. Discover.
In truth, I spent a lot of time feeling lost. I was a cork bobbing on an ocean of wanna-be authors, floundering for what seemed like forever. But as solo circumnavigator Paul Lotus, says:
“You can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving? Just like a life.”
So I made my own wind (hmm, that doesn’t sound too good) and here I am… a LinkedIn, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking 52- year-old starting a new career at an age when a book like 50 Shades of Grey makes me think of my hair rather than my love life. In contrast to grey, however, my message for those charting their own course for publication is very black and white:
- It doesn’t have to be fiction. Anything is possible;
- Extraordinary things do happen to ordinary people; and
- It’s never too late to follow your dreams.
So if you want to follow my posts over the coming year, we can explore, dream, and discover together and I will introduce my strategy of:
Believe. Be Brave. Be Business-like.
Jenn J McLeod’s author website: www.jennjmcleod.com