Twelve years ago I graduated high school. Coming from a rural area there was not much emphasis on the creative as a means of income (apart from being a high school art teacher). I wanted to write stories and there wasn’t really much out there to help me do it. I had even gone to my guidance counsellor to help me get a real job.
But look at me now. I’m living in Scotland when I thought I’d never leave Australia. I had picked one of the more difficult life choices a person could make. The arts fields are always difficult to succeed in, let alone make money. But I’m slowing pushing out stories and I know it’s only a matter of time before I gain traction.
I think back to when I first finished school, I wonder how many people thought that I wouldn’t or couldn’t achieve my dreams. I also think about the life journeys my classmates (the ones I have kept track of) have made in the decade since. Some have become what they wanted, while others haven’t had their dreams materialise. Then there are those who have changed paths and become something completely different. But all are within the realm of real jobs and nothing that seems overly difficult.
The more I think about it, the more I can’t believe I’ve made it so far. I amaze myself. What would my life be if I never went to the counselor’s office or chosen to take a different path? Out of all the paths people could choose, I’m making headway in one that heads along a difficult trail.
I’ve been writing seriously for the last five years and it is only now that I’m starting to see the fruits of the long solitary hours I’ve put in. I’ve got four stories out, more half written, others only a few more drafts away from completion and others in progress.
It’s a juggle of what am I going to spend my time on. But I get to choose because I have no one placing their expectations on what they want me to write. If I want to write a YA I can, a sci-fi with whatever slant I choose, or something else entirely. I’ve yet to be placed in a box and that’s a wonderful feeling.
I’m so unknown that the only articles about me are from myself.
That affords me a freedom where I can write anything and not be restricted to someone else’s idea of what a book should be. For better or worse. The publishing industry of the past will not the same as it is now and the future is somewhat ambiguous. Afterall publishing houses are nothing but a business. And I like writing for fun not as a means of income (but I’ll so totally take all the money I earn from it).
I’ve worked out that just because I was able to write uni assignments to deadlines back in the day does not mean I can do that same for my stories. I found my creative writing classes difficult to wrap my head around creatively considering my stories are more spontaneous and organically forming. But the foundation that degree provided was essential.
The freedom I’m afforded through this path suits me best because I’m the type of person who goes off and does my own thing. Helps that I am a stubborn introvert and a bit of a shit I suppose.