I am a writerly cliche.
If you’re like me and you obsessively read the “about the author” page at the back of every book, you’ll know that the writing career of many authors commenced around the age of six or seven. They always knew they wanted to write.
I wrote my first book at age eight. I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer. When I wasn’t getting up to mischief with my brother – our favourite pastime was riding doubles in an old baby bath down an ivy-covered slope and shooting off a drop to land in my mum’s compost heap – I was writing. My first book was called “Lee-ee-ah the jungle girl”. It was Lee-ee-ah because that’s what I imagined she would yodel (Tarzan-style) as she swung from vine to vine. Highly original stuff.
I wish I could have whispered in that eight year old girl’s ear: “You are a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m not saying it won’t be a lot of work but if you want to write, then write.” If I had, I may not have let my inner belief gradually erode during my teenage years, to be replaced with: “Writing’s a great hobby but you want to make sure you get yourself a serious job.” Silly me. Writing is a serious business.
A few years ago, I realised that my childhood instincts were spot on. Inherently, I am a writer. There’s nothing I love more than following the journey of my characters and seeing where they will take me next.
The older and more headstrong I get, the more I’ve come to believe that you can make things happen if you really want them to; and you’re willing to work for it.
There have been benefits to taking the long way round. I’ve had fun as a lawyer and still do. And the job has taught me a lot. That less is often more when it comes to words. That a business attitude is usually at the heart of success, even writing. That editing and advice are necessary, and not at all evil if you embrace them and make them your friends.
So this is the writerly journey of a late bloomer. Stepping onto the mysterious road to publication and hopefully making some new friends along the way.