It was in grade 1, I was 6 years old and it was for the McIntyer Young Writer’s Awards. I wrote a short story about a baby eel getting lost and then getting found again. I do not know if I got any awards for it.
I can’t remember what I wrote from that year to grade 7, but I’m sure I must have. Anyway, for my entry, I got a commendation for my story that had three chapters and was about a girl that went back in time to ancient Egypt (I was going through a phase then).
Then I went to high school and creative writing wasn’t that encouraged or focused on. I was still eligible for the McIntyer Writers’, but it wasn’t focused on during class and I didn’t take the initiative to write independently enough to submit anything.
In one class exercise I wrote a story about race relations and in my own time, I began dabbling in the embarrassing proto-stories that I think I ended up tossing some years later.
But then during grades 11 and 12, I began getting the germs of story ideas that even now years later I still have but never pursued because I had better ones come along. I used those five subject notebooks and each subject was a story.
My first year at university and at QUT, I began my first novel. It was an Australian YA and I wrote out the first draft by hand. Its completion was a major milestone for me. I still have that story, the second and third drafts were typed on my computer and it’s been sitting dormant for years. I only now look back on it and cringe at how badly written it was. The story itself is fine and I had so much fun writing it, that I’m planning on doing a new re-write of it. The first three chapters are already done and so much better in quality.
Then I went to USC, for the next three years I didn’t do that much creative writing. My time was mostly focused on assignments. Though I did write 16,000 words during a break one time and burnt myself out.
Then I went to UniMelb. I don’t know what or how much I wrote during that time, but I think it might have been quiet a lot, as I go through my older stories on my USB and they’re there. But what I remember more is that I was 23 and I had nothing to show for it! So I picked a story that I was most invested in and that was Feet or Fins. I wrote it up and then did maybe 14/15 drafts from Oct ’13 to May ’15. It was a learning curve for me that I know every writer needs to go through to become better at the actual craft of writing.
I then put it up online, no one bought it because I didn’t advertise it. Which turned out to be a good thing because one of my friends read the free sample and informed me that it was unreadable. And oh, my shame it was! So I took it off and re-wrote the entire thing. It was a marked improvement.
Then I moved to the UK. One of my first jobs there turned out to be the worst job I had ever been at. It was the boss, he was a bully at best and maybe a workplace psychopath at worst. I rage quit after only two months. Then I went and got a better job (Yay! Win!), went on my belated honeymoon, came back and channelled my rage into going to the gym, losing 6/7 kilos in three months. Then I was ready to write again just in time for the Christmas season.
This is where my most productive writing term began. From Xmas ’16 to now I’ve written more than I ever have and I’ve developed my writing to the point where it’s significantly better than it was only the year prior. Slowly I’m building up my written works and I’m even managing my time better 🙂
I’ve put out a short story, a novelette and a novella. Currently I have another novelette and two novella’s in the later draft stages. I’ve got a few almost completed drafts and a few more stories that are only half or a third completed. I feel like 2018 will be a very productive year for me.
To the future and beyond . . . .