Writing is my ‘thing’. The thing I love doing the most. Always have, always will.
I’ve been told that you can’t ‘choose’ writing as a profession – that writing chooses you. That’s something I’d have to agree with. Writers write because they must. A desire to improve upon their craft is something else most writers share.
One of the best decisions I made in recent years was to take up the Professional Writing and Editing course at RMIT. I’d been writing as a journalist for years, worked at Channel Ten for twenty and was a Melbourne University graduate with an Arts Degree. But journalistic writing and academic prose require completely different skills to creative writing. It’s a bit like a thinking you can whip up a souffle when all you’ve ever cooked is toast.
While I was at Ten, I’d started penning a novel and after leaving, was pretty confident it was something I could finish in a matter of months. Yeah, right. How I look back and laugh at my naivety. Luckily several wise writerly friends read my early drafts and tactfully suggested the RMIT course as something that could prove helpful.
I finished the course at the end of 2010, graduating with a Diploma and a nearly-finished first novel. I had learnt so much—it’s hard to know where to start in trying to explain. Suffice to say I have no idea how I had ever thought I could write a book without the knowledge I acquired at RMIT. I’m not saying that applies to everyone. Of course there are plenty of naturally gifted writers who are born with a quill in their mouth and can dash off a best-seller before they’re three, but I’m not one of them. Most of all, I learnt that writing IS hard work and takes a long, long time. But if you persist and it starts flowing well and you produce something to be proud of, then it’s the greatest feeling of satisfaction and joy I know.
It’s not the best addiction in terms of relationships. I happen to be a late-night writer, so it means getting to bed VERY late if you’re ‘on a roll’. Waking up Fletch when trying to crawl quietly in to bed in the wee hours – especially if he has an early start the next day – does not make for matrimonial bliss. But generally, his support and patience has been fantastic and much appreciated.
As part of the course, I also studied screen-writing. I find it remarkable, after working in the television industry for so long, that this option hadn’t occurred to me before. It’s a genre I found so exciting – it was like coming across a whole new galaxy. I’ve since had several meetings in LA about a film I’ve written and will keep you updated with any developments.
As for my novel, yes, it IS finally finished. It took another six months after completing the RMIT course and now I have happily found representation with the esteemed literary agent, Jenny Darling. Whether it is eventually published or not is another matter. You’ll have to wait for the next chapter of this tale to find out.
In the meantime, I have begun my second novel. It’s early days so I can’t say too much except that it’s a supernatural romance. My imagination is running riot.