I am happy dancing around the place at the moment because I finished writing my book. Believe me, I know there is more work to come, but I’m taking a moment to celebrate completing this manuscript.

This is a big deal to me. I’ve achieved something that I dreamed of doing but didn’t think I really would or could.

I feared writing a fiction book

I’ve been a writer all of my professional career — that’s over 15 years of stringing words together. I’ve worked in newsrooms, public relations agencies, and in-house communications. If you can think of a type of document, you can bet I’ve likely written a version of it for my clients or employer.

Writing a fiction novel is something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. I’m a reader from childhood and it seemed like a dream to be a novelist, almost something that other people did. For a long time it just didn’t occur to me that perhaps I could write a book.

After having my second baby in 2017, I really felt like I needed to do something just for me. I needed to find a passion for something again. I couldn’t deny that books had been a big part of my life and decided that now was the time to explore creative writing. I mean, what else do you do during maternity leave? (hahahaha!)

I needed (wanted) to learn more

Despite my professional experience, I felt like I wasn’t adequately equipped to write fiction – I lacked so much confidence. So, I looked up writing courses and found one run by one of my favourite Australian authors, Fiona McIntosh. Sadly, her Masterclasses are so popular that I couldn’t get into one for almost two-ish years! I was disappointed… But, what do you know? At the time I was looking, Fiona messaged me to say she had decided to run a mini-masterclass to see if people would be interested in a shorter, intensive version of her course. AND, it was going to be in just a few months. It was a sign!

I had the computer on, my credit card in my hand, the support of my husband, childcare plans in place so I could go interstate for a few days. And… I – COULD – NOT – BOOK – MY – PLACE!!!

I sat at the computer and cried. I felt scared and overwhelmed and silly. How could I just go off and do this course? Would I even really write a book? Was I wasting everyone’s time? How could I write a book? I had two little kids, no spare time, and everyone knows writing the first (few!) books is done for love not money.

I needed another sign

I’m not kidding, I sat there faffing about on Facebook, trying to mull over in my head if this course was meant for me. As I scrolled, an ad popped up for a bangle with an inspirational quote stamped on it. It said:

What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? – Erin Hanson

Come on! What a beautiful quote! What an incredible flow of words to set me off on this course!

I bought the bangle. Then, I bought my place on the course.

I haven’t looked back

The course was everything I needed and the support group I formed from there was what I needed in my writing life — it’s the gift that has kept on giving.

I came home so amped up that my husband said ‘You need to do this!’ We talked about how we could make it work – the time, resources, etc. And, off I went.

14 months later

Now, just some 14 months after the amazing writing course, I have finished my manuscript. I did the research, the writing and the editing. It definitely wasn’t smooth sailing and there have been LOTS of changes, from characters’ names to the location of the story. It has all unfolded and been hard work, but ‘joyful’. I know that sounds a little woo-woo, but I feel vibrant when I write fiction. I love the world I have created and the people that occupy it. Mostly, I love that I have completed an entire story.

From here on

Now, I guess, the hardest part starts – finding a publisher! I’ve got a plan and some ideas but it’s going to come down to more hard work, and a sprinkling of timing and luck.

I look forward to sharing some updates – whatever they may be, from rejections (part of the writer’s life) to the win!! It will come, I believe it now!

J x 

Read more of my tips and thoughts about the writing process:

The hardest part of writing a novel (for me, at least)

What to read when you want to be a writer