January 1st 2014 was a bit different to all my previous new years. I decided it was long overdue that I did something about my parked and buried writing dreams. I bought a journal, and I wrote stuff in it. I wrote down exactly what I wanted to achieve.
And what I wanted to achieve was publishing a book.
So, here I am, three years later . . .
The road to publishing a book is a long one, but for all that, an enjoyable one. With hindsight, publishing a book was both the hardest and the simplest thing I have ever done. Simple, because basically, a book is just a bunch of words written down. But hard because you drag those words out of your imagination and then go over those words many, many times before you feel anywhere near ready to share them, and after you do, you realize you were still not quite ready!
I will liken my experience publishing a book, to my experience emigrating from the UK to Australia. It took me a couple of years to make it happen, nine months to get the residency visa, another nine months to sell our house, cars, and most of our furniture, buy a plane ticket and leave. But once I did emigrate, I realized that it wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I originally expected. Sure, it required planning, and effort, and there were a huge number of steps along the way, but it wasn’t impossible.
I didn’t know what I would find on the other side, I had no job, no home, and I knew no one besides my husband. Moving country, and especially to the other side of the world, requires a certain leap of faith, and so too with publishing a book.
I published my science fiction novel, Divided Serenity, on 8th December 2016, ten years and five months after I arrived in Australia.
There is no connection between the two events, other than they both happened to me, and that in some ways they were life-changing, and in some ways they were not.
I still get up every morning, go to work, enjoy my cappuccino, and the rewarding aspects of my day job, and then I come home and write. None of that changed because I am in a different country or because I published a book.
The difference is all on the inside.
I love that I was brave enough to move to another country and that I was able to start again, to reinvent myself, and to be someone new. Moving to another country is invigorating, and it instills a sense of self-belief. I still miss my friends and family in the UK, and I know I always will. I miss the funny, quaint little villages and the British sense of humor. I swapped my umbrella for sunglasses and factor 50 sunscreen, and if I ever leave Australia, I know the new list of things I miss will be just as long.
I love that I was brave enough to publish my book, even though I had no idea how it would work out or whether people would like it—I still don’t. Publishing a book is an amazing feeling, but what’s more amazing is the support I have had from my family and friends, and the encouragement from the writing community.
The funny thing about being brave is that it’s all kinds of addictive, and you realize that you can do this, whatever this may be. And you realize too, that whatever happens on the other side you will get through it.
I have learned something about the other side of life changing events, and that is, they don’t really change you, or your ideals, or who you are, at least not in my case. You still get up and do the same things, say the same things, laugh and love the same things, but inside there is this little happy glow that knows—I did it—and nothing can take that away.
So if I had one wish for 2017, it would be for all the people who have a dream or wish or hope that they have been sitting on, to be brave and make it happen.
Wishing you all happy writing in 2017