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Chase Your Dreams, by Helene Young

Christmas always makes me a little melancholy and a touch introspective as I look back at the things I have (or haven’t) done during the last twelve months. As the summer sun beats down, the afternoon storms deliver hail and lightning, and the mosquitoes descend in squadrons, I remember the year that’s gone.

2013 goes down as a surprising year for me. A change in my health closed one career door but, in the way of the universe, another one opened up that was the size of a barn. (If I’d know what was hiding behind it I may have slammed that door shut again…) During the year, Capt G and I sailed from Brisbane to Cairns and then back again, an unplanned adventure that taught us much about ourselves and the good ship Roo Bin Esque. (It’s lucky that Zeus the Salty Sea Dog was at hand to keep an eye on things.)

With all that action filling every waking hour I handed my publisher a manuscript that was almost too raw to be called a first draft and I’ve spent the last six months furiously polishing to get it into shape. I hope I never have to do that again, but seeing it release at the end of March, two months earlier than originally planned, will be a reward for the hard yards.

Looking ahead, I realise that 2014 will be my twenty-fifth year in the aviation industry. It will also mark fifteen years since I sat down and typed out my very first completed manuscript (that’s the one hiding in the dusty filing cabinet, marked never to be released…). I’m reminded again that all good things require hard work.

Writers seldom take the easy road to success. Measure success how you will, as it will be different for every one of us. It can be a lonely journey of writing in isolation, or it can be filled with like-minded people who come together to support, encourage and, most importantly, validate what we do. Without exception, it will involve long hours staring at a page, watching words build characters, a world and a story for others to share.

Writing Novels in Australia has done a magnificent job of drawing a group of writers together. We’ve shared our experiences, bared our souls and celebrated writing, warts and all.

To those of you who’ve joined us this year and have discovered that writing is your passion, I have this advice: Rules are for fools and the guidance of wise men – be wise, be guided. Each and every one of us will approach our writing in a different way, with a different motivation and a vastly different wealth of experience. What works for me may not work for you. By all means listen to advice, read ‘How To’ books and go to workshops to develop your skills. Join in conversations on the web and learn from other people’s mistakes, especially when it comes to the business side of the industry. Most importantly, never lose sight of the joy that writing brings, both to our readers and to us.

Rejection will hurt and so will editing on a bad day, but the delight when you read something you’ve written and feel that curl of excitement through your body will stay with you long after the moment. You’ve embarked on a long journey and it’s all too easy to worry about it as you write.

A line from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel always comes to mind when I’m struggling to edit: “It will be alright in the end and if it is not alright then it is not the end.” The light at the end of the tunnel is a brand new day, or a brand new year. Set your goals and make them happen.

This is your dream: it can come true.


Helene Young’s author website:

Helene Young’s bio page


Wings of FearShattered SkyBurning LiesHalf Moon Bay     The Fragment of DreamsHouse for all Seasons by Jenn J McLeod

Writing Novels in Australia

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lovely sentiment Helene and just what I needed to read after a day fighting a distinct lack of motivation in order to sit down and attack my own messy first draft of my latest writing project.

    I think I’ll be sticking up that quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on my office wall too.

    All the best for 2014.

    December 27, 2013
  2. Thanks, Rachel, a messy first draft is a diamond in the rough!

    I loved the Marigold Hotel and its story of hope and optimism so I’m glad the quote resonated with you. I hope 2014 is a fabulous year for you.

    December 27, 2013
  3. Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

    As usual, your words hit the spot, Helene. So glad to be riding the crests and troughs with you (not literally, of course. I believe I would be sea sick!), as we set sail for end March! See you at the finishing line (that is not really a finishing line!)

    December 27, 2013
  4. Lovely piece, Helene! So glad you sat down to write 15 years ago!

    December 27, 2013
    • Anna, that’s a lovely thing to say and thank you! Life would certainly be a little different without it. I think writing is a compulsion and once you’ve turned on the tap there’s no turning it off!

      December 28, 2013
  5. I loved this post Helene 🙂
    I’ve been procrastinating on writing for a while now, despite a bunch of ideas that never seem to go anywhere (but in circles in my head). Since reading this, I smiled, opened a new word document and started to write the strongest theme in my mind. 🙂

    All the best for a fantastic and exciting 2014 🙂 I look forward to reading your new release next year 🙂

    December 27, 2013
    • Excellent news, Jess! As they say, ‘you can’t edit a blank page’ so keep going 🙂

      December 28, 2013
  6. Jenn, it’s the wonderful community of writers that keep me sane some days! Lucky none of you have to physically ride the waves with me – leave that to Capt G and Zeus.

    Look forward to being release buddies in March/April.

    December 27, 2013

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