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: www.heleneyoung.com
Writing Novels in Australia