It’s been a while since I’ve written anything new (unless you count shopping lists). Until April 2012, I wrote almost daily. I have two completed novel manuscripts and the start of a third. I have a stack of short stories on my hard drive, and some of them have even been published in magazines, anthologies and online. I also write reviews for Adelaide’s Indaily (an online daily newspaper) and have studied professional writing at TAFE. In short, it was my dream to be a ‘real’ writer, and I did lots towards making that happen. Then it stopped.
In April last year, I fell pregnant. For anyone who has been pregnant, they will be familiar with the energy sapping, brain malfunctioning state that accompanies growing a human inside oneself. It was all I could do to keep turning up to the job that actually paid me, let alone sit down at my computer of an evening to write for myself. Besides, my second novel was with an agent who had shown considerable interest in it and I was awaiting her response with trepidation and excitement before deciding on ‘the next step’. Surely things were moving along in the right direction for my writerly career and I could afford to take just a leetle break? So, break I did.
My pregnancy progressed well and aside from an undersized bump (I didn’t know there was such a thing until almost everyone I met exclaimed on its state of under-development) things were great. Until third trimester. That’s when the insomnia set in.
Exhausted as I was, I simply could not sleep for more than 3-4 hours a night. On average, I’d fall asleep around 2am, and wake-up at 5am. And that was on a good night. I was so knackered at work that I took to napping in the back seat of my car during lunch break. And often lunch break would be taken at 11am! So again, no writing took place. It was around this time that the agent very politely rejected my book.
Then, on 3 January 2013, my little bundle of joy entered the world. Emily Anne takes her name from my childhood writing hero, Lucy Maud Montgomery. ‘Anne’ is of course for Anne of Green Gables, and ‘Emily’ her lesser known heroine, Emily of New Moon. I love this child more than I thought it was possible to love anything, but gosh babies are time consuming little creatures! At first, Emily had her days and nights mixed up (I suspected she might from the nocturnal kicking that occurred during my pregnancy compared to her state of contentment during the day) but that was fine because I’d had lots of training in sleep deprivation leading up to her arrival. Gradually, she settled into a normal sleep routine which again, any parent will know still isn’t considerate of adult sleeping requirements. So, still no writing.
Now that she’s 8 months old, Emily usually flakes it by 7.30pm only wakes up once or twice, and I can happily say that I often get upwards of 5 hours sleep in a row. No more excuses for not writing.
It has felt like I’ve been missing a limb in the time I’ve been writing abstinent. While I adore my baby girl, writing is something that makes me who I am. Without it, I’m a bit lost and life doesn’t make as much sense.
I now hark back to the agent rejection. At the time, I was too pregnant and knackered to do much other than cry, pull myself together and resolve to send out my MS again. The resolving bit was easy, the sending it out a bit beyond my hormonally imbalanced, sleep deprived state. So now that ‘I’m back’ and more up to this onerous task, I find the world has changed in my hiatus. An online presence used to be something only established authors needed to worry about (which is why I’ve never bothered). But now, many publishers REQUIRE an online presence before they will even consider your submission. Heavens to Betsy! So, its time to bite the bullet, pull out my proverbial finger and set up a blog.
Here it is.
I guess with the way things are moving technology wise and the rise of the e-book, it’s fair enough to expect writers to have an online platform. I know the first thing I do when I’m interested in a new writer is to Google said author and look at their site. The upside for me -well, there are many- is that it forces me to actually write which is easier said than done when you’ve had substantial time away from the practice of the craft.
What I’d like to do here is talk a bit about my writing projects and my life, entertain if possible, and interact with others interested in all things ‘word’. Hopefully I’ll spend equal amounts of time on my novels and stories as I do on these posts.