I was enjoying a coffee at one of my (many) favourite cafes recently when I bumped into a gorgeous woman I met at an NLP course. We had not studied together for more than two years but she remembered me talking about my novel manuscript.

She was kind enough to ask me where it was up to. I was so happy to be able to share that I have lodged it in two manuscript competitions!!

See the action shot below, of me posting one of them, and having a champagne to celebrate!
“Is it finished?” she asked.

Oh, how I wish!

Here is an action shot of me blithely posting the first 50 pages of my manuscript to a competition hosted by the Queensland Writer’s Centre, combined with an action shot of the glass of champagne to celebrate.

This calm photo belies the panic of having finished my edits at 50 pages, exactly where I wanted the extract to end, then realising it was double-spacing, not 1.5 line spacing. So page 50 had become page 64 and more painstaking hours of editing were required.
When I had finally finished and printed it out, I lovingly placed it in the envelope, removed the cover from the adhesive of the envelope, then I could not resist pulling it back out for one more look. Page 50 stuck to the adhesive and could only be removed by me ripping it.

Off I went to print out the 50th page, only for some reason, it said “page 51”. I triple and double-checked that it was the last page and could not account for the gremlin which had shifted the page number forward by one. In the end, I grabbed a pen and changed the one to a zero. Then came this action shot, and the much-needed champagne restorative.

I should find out in the next few months if I have been successful in either of the manuscript competitions I entered, and meanwhile, I will chip away with further edits. If I don’t win either, I will then move onto plans B and C in order to get my first novel published! I will keep you posted.

But one thing is for sure – these writing projects are never finished!

It was early morning, like before 5am and I was having one of my usual very early, scratchy-eyed tired but still awake moments, and listening to the latest episode of the Beautiful Writer’s Group coaching call. I’ve been a member now for several years, keeping in touch with a supportive online community of writers as I continue eking out my first novel. Writing in the dark. Painfully slowly!

This month featured a new segment where the co-hosts, Book Mama’s Linda Sivertsen and the Organised Artist’s Samantha Bennett read out from their latest pieces of work. Samantha read out a powerful extract of being in jail – the jail of a salaried job – and highlighted that the jail door is actually open.

This was hitting my buttons already. 2014 was the year I was going to make the break from salary to business ownership. I was very happy to jump first and ask later and wrote many blogs about this time. At that time as well as being fearless I also regularly felt my guts roil with cold terror about how on earth the mortgage would be paid, among other things. Another slightly awkward reality was that I wasn’t sure what I was selling, and for how much.

The period of insanity/ bravery coincided with being 49 and having just self-published my memoir (respectful trigger alert applies). It was my line in the sand year where I declared publicly that I was an author. Once declared, never retracted. That part of my pre-50th birthday crisis was going just fine.

But Battleship Business Ownership? Not so much. Even though I never let any uncertainty hold me back, and just kept steaming ahead into the fog, fate had other plans for me. While still wrestling with the next tranche of online business training that was going to give me the 6 step fool-proof method to start earning money in my business right away, a job opportunity torpedoed the battleship and leapt out, onto the life raft of this opportunity and watch the battleship sink with alarming rapidity. I found it hard to watch just how easy it was to abandon my entrepreneur dreams.

To be fair, it wasn’t just any old job. This was the sort of job that set off a light bulb in my heart. Weird, I know, but that’s what it felt like when I heard about it and mentally tried on applying for it, getting it. The job was to run my state’s not for profit patient advocacy agency. Tilting at the windmills of entrenched power and privilege, turning the dial back towards the needs of the patient, away from the voracious, insatiable needs of the service or hospital. That life raft became an actual job which I began in January 2015.

Real Prisons…

Fast forward three years to me listening to the Beautiful Writer’s Group, listening to the reading likening salaried work to being in prison. Just two days earlier my salaried job had taken me to actual prison, to hear from prisoners about how they experience their healthcare services. First, a female prison, and a group of 12 articulate, diverse women talked on behalf of their fellow prisoners. We sat around a Board Room table and listened to these Peer Support Workers, took notes and I plotted what I could do without further swamping our small and highly dedicated advocacy team.

The next visit was to one of our male prisons, where I sat at the front of a room of more than 35 male prisoners, also Peer Support Workers. I was up the front of the room in a row of bureaucrats, myself and my colleague the only non-government staff there. I had worn my Birkenstocks as part of my non-profit uniform, hoping the prisoners might understand the dress code.

It was like a dull Q&A panel, although we were asking the questions.

I tried hard not to stare at the many wonderful, colourful and intricate tattoos – because, rude – although there were some truly eye-catching ones on arms, legs and faces.

“What’s good about the health service?” One bureaucrat asks. Crickets.

“What could be improved?” A babble of voices and the conversation quickly builds. There were little hints – sentence lengths of 20+ years referred to, feedback on how the health services, especially the methadone program were this time around compared to the last swing – of crimes that might have been committed, why they might be here. One prisoner with a rat-tail and self-confessed history of meth usage kept chiding his fellow prisoners as they listed the various failings and gaps in the health services. “Well it’s prison, whaddya expect?” he said, more than once. Currying favour with the guards?

Another more mature prisoner reflected “this is good for some of the boys. Somewhere to sleep. Three meals a day.” Yes, and again the distressing peeking through of what is behind many of the faces, hidden in many of the stories of nastiness and evil. Absolutely entrenched disadvantage of the “give me not poverty lest I steal” school.

I am reminded of my own experience undertaking a victim offender mediation conference more than 6 years ago, my last reason to visit a prison.

The Day Job

It is always a blessed relief to hear the prison’s front door locking behind you, leaving you out in the fresh air, and for the next few days I basked in my freedom. Sat on my porch, listened to the birds, watched the trees moving in a gentle breeze and occasionally saw the faces of the prisoners waft across my mind’s eye.

And I pondered my other goals that haven’t quite made it to the top of the 2018 goals list – of doing something in the restorative justice field, helping the justice reinvestment movement take hold. Goal – a word so close and yet so vastly different from gaol…

But am I in prison because I work rather than run a business? I don’t think so. Do I want to work less and write more? Hell yes. Do I want a Writer’s Life? Rather than the life of a hard-working not for profit evangelist whose writing time is squashed to a corner of the weekend? Hell yes. But maybe not just yet…

 

On this very desk in Chania, Crete, I finished the last scene of my shitty first draft of my first novel on 27th September, three days before my deadline.

Last year I found out about The Writer’s Studio online First Draft Novel course which insisted that I start all over again (I had a part-finished another draft one and mooshed together a second incomplete draft one – so two draft ones if that makes sense. No, not really!). So I started all over again and eleven months later, I made it!! That’s 93,947 words. Just under 24,000 this writing holiday which started 9/9.

Now, to get cracking with the Writer’s Studio Draft Two course. I believe there will be lots more rewriting. So Sisyphus-like, I’ve started rolling that boulder up to the top of the hill!

But first, I celebrated with beer, olives, feta and anchovies. A sweet snack! Chania will always have a place in my heart.

It’s that time again – author interview time! I will be honest, my day job was extremely busy at the end of April and I have only just gotten the audio of this engaging and supportive interview with the lovely Samantha Bennett up.  Since Good Friday when this was recorded until today, there has been a lot of stuff happening. A lot. A boulder’s worth of things (see below).

But enough of that. On with the show! For those of you who don’t know Samantha, she is an author of two books, Get It Done: From Procrastination To Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day, and her latest. The title needs a new sentence of its own. Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make A Big Difference. For Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists.

It’s going to be my longest hyperlink all year! So let me start with a breath. Inhale for four, hold for seven, exhale for eight. That’s how our interview starts, and that is just one of the many super-practical, easily implementable tips that Samantha shares in the interview. You can hop on over and listen right now, or keep on reading to find out a little more before you commit!

Samantha has spent many years helping creatives to get unstuck, through her Organized Artist company, and with great intrepidity has put together a career’s worth of sensible and supportive advice into a book. And the right Little Changes Action Step that end each chapter. Things you can try for yourself to make changes in the area of your life where things aren’t working so well for you.

When I was reading the book in preparation for the interview, I started turning down the corners of the important pages. (I know. I am an absolute vandal. Do not loan me your favourite book.) After a short time I realised I had turned down the corner of every chapter, and with only around a 15 minute allotted interview time that was never going to work. But it highlighted to me that this is the kind of book that you read through once, then you keep handy, like a favourite pack of Angel cards or similar. You pick it up and wherever it falls open, that’s the right page with the right wisdom for you.

What I like about this book is that it is funny. For people like myself with a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for self-development, it is refreshing to stumble across paragraphs such as ‘”What does my inner wisdom want me to know right now?” You could end up with with a clear desire for a grilled cheese sandwich – or perhaps an idea for a whole new direction in life.’

What I also like is that some of the meditations and concepts are on the website for you to enjoy as an audio or short video.

Of this vast panoply of good ideas, I am going to choose the ones that fell open for me. Happy Naked Grown Up Time, Time Boulders and the You in the Centre of You. In no particular order, except that Happy Naked Grown Up Time got your attention I’m thinking?

Time Boulders are things like a massive day job, new baby, sudden illness of self or other – the sorts of intrusions on time that are definitely and legitimately going to impact on how much time there is for creative pursuits. But – these time boulders won’t last forever. And this is the reassurance I cling to with my current creative schedule in a life (positively) impacted by my massive, amazing, challenging, enthralling day job. One day this too will pass, and I will have a different, post-job life. More noodling time, more white space and bigger margins of my life to devote to writing. (Hang it, I might even have a whole page!) But still. I’ve got 15 minutes a day. We’ve all got 15 minutes a day. Or in my case, oodles of time on the weekend. My novel can still progress, slowly. What can you do in 15 minutes a day to forward your creative dreams?

Another key theme in the book is The You in the Centre of You. It’s a core concept for life really.

“When you are centered in yourself, you are the still center around which the wheel of your life spins.”

Sam also uses the term “The Net” to express the fundamental inter-connectedness of all things (as Douglas Adams would say). “You are an inextricable and essential part of an Infinite Net of energy. You are one intersecting element in the larger picture of the whole universe. You are both much less significant and much more powerful than you may have been led to believe.”

And Happy Naked Grown Up Time? Get a copy and read it yourself!

Listen here for my interview with Sam.

Samantha Bennett is also the co-host of the Beautiful Writer’s Group, with Linda Sivertsen. I have been Beautiful Writer for 2.5 years.

Rashida Murphy with her first novel, The Historian’s Daughter

I have recently signed up to to Marie Forleo’s B-School, and was inspired to refresh my Fabulous Women Podcast. This latest interview features Perth Author Rashida Murphy, who has recently published her first novel, The Historian’s Daughter.

The book’s blurb reads “In an old house with ‘too many windows and women’, high in the Indian hills, young Hannah lives with her older sister Gloria; her two older brothers; her mother, ‘the Magician;’ a colourful assortment of aunts, blow-ins, and misfits; and her father, ‘the Historian.’ It is a world of secrets, jealousies, and lies, ruled by the Historian but smoothed over by the Magician, whose kindnesses and wisdom bring homely comfort and all-enveloping love to a ramshackle building that seems destined for chaos.

And then one day the Magician is gone, Gloria is gone, and the Historian has spirited Hannah and her brothers away to a new, and at first bewildering, life in Perth. As Hannah grows and makes her own way through Australian life, an education, and friendships, she begins to penetrate to the heart of one of the old house’s greatest secrets-and to the meaning of her own existence.”

The Magician and the Historian – why those names?

The magic and beauty of having a podcast is that you can ask authors about what they meant. The Historian is the father figure, and the Magician is the mother figure. I was still intrigued about this one month after reading it, and Rashida shared her insight as to the detachment of both parents, although so different.

What about the sisters, Hannah and Gloria?

The warm relationship between the sisters Hannah and Gloria is cut short when Hannah moves to Australia, and the impact of living apart tells on their relationship. Rashida confirmed this is an enduring theme in her writing, and that no matter how long you live in a country and develop new relationships, you can never replace the sibling relationships where you have lived each others’ history.

Are “extra branches” on a family tree a key theme?

The opening line is “The hills towered, range upon range, behind the house with too many windows and women” Rashida shares the insight that as she grew up there were silent women who were visible but whose stories were never told. This novel provides one story at least for one of the silent women inspired by her childhood in India.

I wonder if you could share something about the experience of writing this novel?

Rashida talked about the germ of an idea of this novel – actually the Iranian Revolution – which would not let her alone. It transformed into The Historian’s Daughter over several years and drafts.

I loved the insight she shared about writing about places – she needs a place to become strange to write about it, and all the Perth scenes of the novel were written in Shimla. I love that!

And are you able to talk about what’s next?
Another germ of an idea is currently taking shape. Despite swearing off novel-writing, this draft is already up to 25,000 words… We talked about how you have to be crazy to write a novel, but at some point it starts making sense and then you can’t leave it alone!

Meet Rashida
Perth people can meet Rashida in person as she will be at Duncraig Public Library on 5th April at 6pm. Copies of Rashida’s book will be available for purchase and signing on the night. Check UWA Publishing’s Facebook page or call the City of Joondalup on 9400 4751.

I hope you enjoy this Podcast. Please feel free to like and share!

out-of-the-longest-winterI have vowed never ever to travel to Europe as early as July. In my hemisphere, Winter is technically from June to August, and while traditionally our Winters here in Perth Australia are not that bad, this one has seemingly gone on for ever. And Ever. And Ever.

After three weeks in Greece in July this year, one of which was a blissful week of a writing retreat in Delphi, I returned to Perth, escaped jet lag and felt smug. Then the rain and Winter stuck around for all of August. All of September. And now, a week into October and today is another perfect inside day with endless rain. Even an ex-patriot Canadian recently remarked to me that she too had found this Winter endless and cold.

The Second Winter of My First Novel Project

2016 will be the second year I have declared with incredible bravery that I am writing my first novel. The writing project is a drumbeat of anxiety, setbacks and frustrations waxing and waning audibly in the background of my ridiculously busy life. It has been an endless circling around of what I think I need to be doing, what I am doing, what must be thrown away so something can be built from its ashes.

I spent six months doing an online Write Your Novel course. At that point it was entitled “Without Consent”. Based on my memoir, the core idea of the novel project is to write from both the perpetrator and victim perspective. The inspiration came from an agent I met with and the idea has taken hold.

So the Six Months to Write Your Novel course came and went, and I dragged the “Without Consent” idea along for the ride. While I had some misgivings about whether the course was really the right fit, I ploughed on. It certainly helped a lot, and I worked hard at it when I could, but at the end of the six months I had only gotten three quarters of the way through the first draft. And the amount of commenting on fellow students that was required was completely overwhelming.

After more desultory mucking around after the course finished, I declared Draft 2 open. By then I had come to the realisation that the course had taught me how to write best seller genre fiction, or preferably a young adult fiction. Only I don’t want to write a best seller. I want to write literary fiction. While it was a useful if drawn out process working out what I didn’t want, what I wanted to create still felt elusive. It seemed that when writing literary fiction, you were on your own.

I then floundered on for more months, setting completely unrealistic deadlines for finishing draft two, given my heavy day job. I got terrifically excited after reading Mothering Sunday for Book Club in June. “That’s the kind of book I want to write!” I thought excitedly. I planned to weave the two storylines in and out, back and forwards in time, creating something circular, even labyrinthine and wonderfully clever. By now it was going to be a novella called Shakespeare Street.

During the Delphi Retreat in July I didn’t really make much progress on the draft, although my writing skills were challenged and expanded. I made another little breakthrough about how I was going to edit and once again, made very desultory progress. And… bit by bit the focus and the certainty faded away.

There was also a computer malfunction in this time, and a return to Scrivener which I often bore people with but had somehow stopped using.

I also got excited when I read the term “roman a clef”, to quote Wikipedia “French for novel with a key, is a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction.” Then of course I had to read The Sun Also Rises and realise all over again what a blokey bloke Ernest Hemingway was and how I possibly didn’t really like him all that much and certainly didn’t like bullfighting. Or fishing.

None of this seemed to be really “getting the pants on the baby”. But I have clung to the suggestion of a fellow Delphi Retreat attendee, and have now discovered The Writer’s Studio. I started an introductory course this week and finally, finally feel that I am getting the sort of assistance I need to write something unique. Not genre, not best seller, but something unique. My unique.

So I am heading, “once more unto the breach” as Shakespeare himself would say, with Shakespeare Street/ Without Consent rattling along behind me.

Nobody said the creative process was straightforward.

 

 

Howards End Xmas ShoppingLive my life through books? I don’t know what you’re talking about! Some weeks ago I blogged about Howard’s End, because any a novel about death and money deserves to be regularly blogged about. The last blog was all about the nature of friendship, but this blog is all about Christmas shopping, because it’s like Christmas Eve as I write. So picture main character Margaret Schlegel, in a horse drawn carriage in foggy London with a rather languid and unwell Mrs Willcox, doing a spot of Christmas shopping. The First World War hasn’t even happened yet. In and out of shops they go, purchasing the required presents for Mrs Willcox, prompting a series of internal reflections from Margaret on how tawdry and commercial Christmas has become. She says; “I do like Christmas on the whole… In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill. But oh, it is clumsier every year.”

Imagine if Margaret had to negotiate the shop floor of KMart, where my daughter is working right now, dealing with the torrent of coins and toys and appalling piped music and an even more irrelevant “forgotten manger at Bethlehem?”

I myself really enjoy Christmas. That’s because my family are pleasant and we do a Christmas draw so there’s no need to purchase an obscene amount of presents. It’s bring a plate too, so no slaving over a hot stove for the Summer Christmas road. It is a difficult time of year for many and I acknowledge you here and will take my Christmas Cracker and cheer elsewhere.

What is more universally pleasing about the so-called “most wonderful time of the year” is the magic of holidays. How wonderful it is to step out of the dance of relentless day to day work demands. How quickly one adjusts to planning around beach visits and afternoon naps. And visioning for 2016. Reviewing 2015. How I adore these activities. And time to think! Time to write! Time to read new books and be reminded on quotes from old favourites!

May this time of the year treat you well, and may your dreams and schemes for 2016 all come true!

 

 

9780992489601-NotMyStory_Cover_3DI am so grateful that more than 3 years ago I “came out” and started blogging in order to prepare myself for when My Book Not My Story would finally be out in the world. And it did come out, in October 2014. One whole year ago. Happy birthday Book!

What I find so fascinating is that instead of getting behind my book, and building my author platform, I went off into a strange journey of trying to become a small business coach (but um, I have never run a business??). Sure, the book covers a very difficult topic and I it is not something that is easily shared randomly in inboxes, plus I needed some new way of making a living if I was no longer to run a not for profit, but business coaching?

I can still remember the exact moment when the small business coaching detour suddenly looked so appealing. I was in one of my gazillion online classes I took that crazy Year of the Book; I had signed up (yet again) for the latest 6 Figures in 6 Weeks strategy. This one was a List Build course – for the fortunate uninitiated it means how to get a biglist of people’s emails, like thousands of them. It focused on how to do an interview series, picking people with big email lists and approaching them to interview you, and if they would also consent to send out an email only advertising the interview (so not hiding it down the bottom of their usual email) to their whole list, then lots of their peeps sign up to your email list in order to listen to the free interview. Voila, your list goes from Zero to Hero.

So there I was on this crowded online call (a teleclass to the initiated) because the business woman had a HUGE list. She had made 6 figures probably in 6 years but was now well established and knocking out 6 Figures annually, and like all of the online Pied Pipers out there, she was telling us we could also be making those 6 figures by the end of her 6 week course. Anyway, there were hundreds of people signed up but probably 80 people on the call (the usual ratio between sign ups and actual attendees) and she asked us all what topic we would do our interviews on. With a huge sense of trepidation I blurted out to all the faceless strangers “Trauma and Recovery”. She asked me a little more and I stammered out my rationale for the interview series, my cheeks red and flushed. It was a completely unsafe environment for me to be disclosing about my book and its topic but I was trying to “test myself”. She just said “Buy the URL”. I felt obscurely crushed, despite her brusque encouragement.

But I couldn’t follow through with the Trauma and Recovery Interview Series concept and show up to this 6 week course with all these strangers to discuss it. I turned my back on the frightening idea of interviewing people like Babette Rothschild whose book “The Body Remembers” made so much of a difference to me as I waded through all the rippling out stages of recovery in the months and years after the assault that is the subject of Not My Story. I swapped to an Abundance Summit, interviewing businesswomen about their abundance secrets. Because like, I was going to be a Business Coach. So much more socially palatable!

I still have so many regrets about taking that decision to go with Abundance instead of Healing from Trauma, even though I met so many lovely generous businesswomen who gave their time and lovely interviews. About 300 lovely women signed up and have largely stayed with me as I have changed my message from “Start a Business!” to “Be true to your creative vision! Any by the way I wrote a book!”

With the wisdom of hindsight I can see that I dove into that crazy, overheated online business development world and bought into it with passion and a beautiful naivete. I awoke a year later with a bit of a marketing hangover, a Coaching certificate (which actually rocks) and a new job. Because the Universe is a wonderful thing it leaned towards me as I carried on my frenzied pursuit of the 6 Figures in 6 Weeks regime. In the middle of yet another expensive online program, life threw in my path the stewardship and amazing opportunity of running a small not for profit in Perth Western Australia where I live, The Health Consumers’ Council.

So now, I can write on the weekend and during the week I exercise another of my creative passions; how to make change real in the world. I am not actually any time soon going to help anyone make 6 Figures in 6 Weeks. Nor in fact am I going to make 6 Figures in 6 Weeks. I finally have permission to write books and still put food on the table doing a job I love. And actually I really love interviewing people too, especially when there is no discussion about List Sizes. Those interviews really rock.

Happy 1st Birthday #Not My Story. Here's to waking up from marketing hangovers and embracing the life of an author with a day job that rocks. Click To Tweet

CommittedToday I signed up for the Australian Writer’s Centre 6 Month Write Your Novel course. I know what you’re thinking – more online courses!
However, this course follows on from the other two courses with the Australian Writer’s Centre which have gotten me from stuck to serious. I have gone from wondering what it might feel like to create characters and situations, to feeling confident, competent and actually as if I might enjoy this fiction writing lark! For most of my life I have given into the feeling of clumsy terror when faced with having to write creatively. No longer!

For those of you who don’t know what I’m on about, my new writing project has the working title “Without Consent” and it is a fictionalised version of my memoir Not My Story. As I am now working more than full time, running a not for profit agency, writing time is precious.

I do have writing time on a weekend, but how it actually plays out is something like this:

  1. Saturday morning! Yay! First, I’d better get my finances sorted (that takes care of most of Saturday morning)
  2. Then, I’d better do a quick review of my week last week, a preview of next week, sort my diary, flight times etc (cheeky little Sydney trip coming up) And that’s the rest of Saturday morning taken care of.
  3. In between I am putting on loads of laundry, vacuuming because even I can’t stand it, hanging laundry out, bringing it in – you get the picture.
  4. Then my daughter emerges from her teen morning sleep in – time to take her shopping and buy her lunch. That takes care of the afternoon, until I drop her at work.
  5. Then, it is really, really important that I update my tagline on my website. And get my banner re-designed. Up until 6pm, done.
  6. Then, my husband comes home and requires some loving attention. As he’s worked 12 hour days for almost every day, we need to re-connect. Date night it is.
  7. Fast forward to Sunday, Father’s Day and it’s time for morning walk and coffee, cooking for lunch, going to lunch, coming back from lunch. That’s up until 3pm sorted.
  8. A lovely clear space! Here I go, writing time! Except now I need to update my email sign-up on my website and facebook page (yes I do!!) 3-6pm, smashed out.
  9. Finally when there is almost none of the weekend left, it’s time to write a blog…

So you see, 26 weekends will pass in this way, with an unwritten novel. Instead, I am channeling my Girly Swot tendencies to get my homework done on time and SIGNING UP to this course. Yes, I do commit to a) completing my manuscript and b) preparing it for submission to publishers. Gulp!! These are the course conditions you sign up to, and with great intrepidity, I have done so today. You also have to have at least 20K words of the first draft written to sign up to this course. And I have!!! So stand by for the slog, sweat and tears.

Now, blog finished, I can spend the next three hours getting my e-newsletter sorted and sent…. Procrastination is a many headed beast… Can you relate?

Siem Reap Pool“Mid-life is a time of loneliness and regret”, darling husband casually announces after a quiet morning’s mutual reading. Picture this; we are in Cambodia on holiday, sitting side by side on sun lounges and there has been companionable silence for some time. I think about this; is it true for me? In terms of loneliness, no. Being single from 25 to 36 without much intermission apart from very unsatisfactory dalliances and short relationships was grindingly, painfully, cry-in-public-on-buses lonely. I was living in London for much of that time and the impersonality of that megalopolis made it easy to be lonely, and incidentally cry in public on buses. No-one would ever bother you; everyone being primarily concerned with avoiding eye contact.

Now I am in my first year of being 50 I am blessed with a lovely relationship with a partner, and yes, a warm and mutual relationship with my teenage daughter. (Teen parenting can actually rock.) I have been blessed with companionship for all of my 40s and now my 50s are also looking good in that department.

But regret? Oh yes. I do have a few, and as the saying goes, it is usually about what I didn’t do, not what I did do. I don’t regret moving to London, or moving to Thessaloniki, or choosing to proceed with my pregnancy alone, or moving back to Australia (especially not that last bit about leaving Greece for Australia 15 years ago. Sorry Greece, but it was a pretty sound decision in hindsight!)

I regret not buying real estate in the 80’s. I regret doing an Arts degree at the posh University in my home town rather than the more pragmatic Uni which may have facilitated me unleashing my creativity earlier. I regret not living in Melbourne or Sydney at some point so that I could have somewhere a bit less isolated than Perth to call my ultimate home.

I regret doing acting lessons in London rather than writing lessons. I think I have always felt a bit precious about my writing skills; felt above getting assistance to stand in my own power as a writer.

I have learned that absolutely no-one can stop you from writing. You just sit down, and write. No-one can stop you from publishing now either which is an exciting thing. But being published by an actual publisher still carries a huge allure for me. To crack that nut I need to reach out to every single support that I can. And apparently at 50 I can finally see that. A slow starter perhaps, but a starter. Does it really matter when?

After I finished this blog,  all I could mentally hear was Frank Sinatra’s My Way. And that is a good final word. As long as you start, it doesn't matter when. No regrets! Click To Tweet