the unbearable lightness of being a writer

I’ve never been… how should I put this… loose. You know, I’ve never been one of those people who loses track of time and runs late. And then all their friends say, ‘oh you silly goose…’ and ruffle their hair. I’m careful with people’s time. I’m careful with pretty much everything I do.

I’ve never spent my last hundred dollars on a concert ticket and had to eat beetroot juice sandwiches until payday. I’ve never slept in a hostel dorm. I want to walk the Camino but I won’t be staying in a hostel. I like comfort and privacy.

Rightly or wrongly, I was taught to work hard and to hope for the best. I have large plans and heady goals but I’m well aware that sometimes life has other ‘plans.’ I always say I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I look back on some of the toughest learning experiences in my life and I am so grateful for the lessons, even if the losses were huge at the time. I am learning not to rail against uncertainty or hardship or unfairness. It is what it is and shaking our fists at the sky doesn’t help.

In fact, the opposite may just be true. I’ve written before about how focusing on joy and acceptance has transformed my whole life. It doesn’t come easily to me, it’s a learnt habit.

I wonder if we have either a heavy soul or a light one. The unbearable lightness of being has always been too hard for me. I’m… heavy. My soul has always felt weighted. But I think you can learn to have a light soul if you start out heavy and if you start out light, sometimes stuff will happen to you and give you weight. I’m learning to be light, learning to have fun with my creativity. I’m learning to have fun with life. In the words of my wise husband who has one of the lightest souls I’ve ever met, life works well if we be kind, be honest, and have fun.

I’m about to start a memoir mentorship program for a month and I really want to bring these words to the story I hope to write about my family. Growing up adopted in a big family surrounded by long and short-term foster siblings wasn’t always fun and games but I want to write about my family in a loving, kind but honest way. The program will hopefully teach me how to write a fictionalised story and I’m hoping for a touch of magical realism.

words to live by

I’ve watched this a few times and I really like what Hawke says here. We all have different gifts and we bring them to the world in our own way.

I wrote a blog for the Gold Coast Writers’ Association entitled The Book you Write will Change the World. You can read it here.

It will change the world. Any time we use our gifts to bring something new into the world, the world changes for the better. It might not put a million dollars in your bank account but then it’s so important to work out what success looks like to you.

What’s your goal? What are you trying to achieve with your writing?

I was listening to Sacha Black’s Rebel Author podcast last week. Sacha was talking about how the financial goals she had set for herself had blinded her to what she truly wanted from her writing. Later in the podcast Sacha spoke with Helen Scheuerer, Australian, NZ-based, Indie phenomenon. Helen talked about her frustration with the traditional publishing pathway she experienced early in her career and deliberately chose the Indie path with her first fantasy book. She had offers from one of the Big 5 too, a dream most of us have tucked away in our glad-bag of what success looks like. Helen says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Like most writers I’d love to have one of my stories made into a film or series. I mean, who wouldn’t? I’d also love a sweet contract from a big publisher. I’m not gonna lie, that is one idea of success floating around in my mind, but I am also learning that the person I become on the way is more important than any ‘destination’ I might imagine.


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