Today is the 5th anniversary of being a published author. It’s my publishaversary! 😀
(Psst! Keep reading to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a signed copy of one of my books, and a journal… 🙂 )
It’s days like this that make you think back on your journey and how far you’ve come…
Since my first book, FAST FORWARD, was published in 2013, 16 more books have followed, and 4 anthologies/collections (see my BOOKS page for all the details). I’ve written romantic comedy, women’s fiction and coastal/small town romance, young adult supernatural mystery, and self help. I love diversity, and writing different genres helps me to feel creatively fulfilled.
I’ve learned a lot over the past five years of being in the industry (and also my eight years of writing), about writing itself, the editing and publishing process, cover design, marketing, and have experienced all the ups and downs including getting new contracts, getting an agent, getting rejections, getting good reviews and bad reviews, having the genres I choose to write both celebrated and ridiculed, and being both on time and behind with deadlines… the writing life is definitely a rollercoaster! I’ve also come to teach what I’ve learned by running online courses and doing coaching and critiquing for other writers, with Writing Mojo Academy.
But today, I want to write about something else:
How Becoming A Writer Helped Me Become Myself…
I’ve been reading a lot about authenticity lately, about the courage to be yourself, and coming into awareness of who you really are. Writing has, I feel, helped me to find my authentic voice, both in my writing and in my personal life, and discover and create who I really am.
When I think back to that person I was when I first opened a word document and wrote, Chapter One, she is so different to the person I now am.
My writing journey started when another journey had ended… my successful career as a naturopath, online health coach, and business owner. It didn’t end in a bad way, my circumstances simply changed, and with them, I had to change. My priorities had shifted, and deciding to put the wellbeing of my son first, I left my career, took him out of school, and facilitated his high school education myself through distance learning (a form of homeschooling, done through a high school). This decision not only helped him (he is now 21 and has not only written a couple of novels himself, but is pursuing a career in acting and also photography), but it also helped me, even though I felt guilty leaving my patients behind and wondering how on earth I was now going to pay my bills.
It was when this change began that I started reading again, never having had much time for it unless it was a medical or health book, or a research manual. I got back into fiction, and then ideas started to form in my mind. I would like to try writing a book… I think I can do it… I just want to know what it feels like to write a complete novel… thoughts roamed around my head, until that day I wrote ‘Chapter One’. From that moment on, I never stopped. I found my passion, my calling; to be a storyteller and to bring entertainment and inspiration to other people.
But I had no idea at the time that my writing journey would become an intensely personal journey of self-discovery.
When I started, I was undergoing immense change from being a successful working single mother, to a stay at home single mother homeschooling a child with special needs. I became isolated. Lonely. Withdrawn. I had also started developing a health issue that continued for many years, and for the next five years or so, every day was a struggle just to get by. To have the energy to get through the school lessons. To do the household chores. Even the grocery shopping took all my energy and effort for the day. But still I wrote. Writing became my outlet, my therapy …my healing.
I had loved working in the health field and was a confident and highly-regarded practitioner, but inside, I was struggling to understand and accept who I was as a person. An individual. A woman. Not only a mother or a practitioner. I hadn’t yet become aware of the fullness or truth of my identity. In some ways, I was scared to be myself.
Writing gave me a voice.
It gave me confidence.
It gave me self-expression.
Through my characters I dealt with life’s challenges, I found ways to understand things that had happened to me, I processed my emotions through my character’s emotions, and I enjoyed the thrill of my characters’ experiences.
By creating new lives through the art of fiction, I created my own new life.
I was not only becoming a writer, I was becoming myself. My true self, that until then, hadn’t been fully expressed.
And when I became published, I became heard. I hadn’t felt truly ‘heard‘ before. This was both exciting and scary, but the more I found out that readers enjoyed my books, the more confident I became, in my writing, and in myself.
Writing books, meeting other writers, reading their books, and immersing myself in this wonderful world of words, made me feel like I had found people who ‘got’ me. Who I could relate to. And I developed many new friendships as a result.
The more and more I wrote, the more and more my life started to become something resembling a novel! Sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking. My career blossomed, and so did I. I started connecting with more and more people, trying new experiences, enjoying greater health by finally looking after myself and not just my patients, and ‘came out of my shell’. I even got a tattoo! …Something I had never thought I would do, but as I became more aware of my own essence, I wanted to express it, and as an artist as well, this was one way that felt right. It made me feel more ‘me’.
I am proud to stand confident and say I am a creative, motivated, determined, intuitive, resourceful, and kind person. A mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunty, a partner, a writer, and a woman.
It is always a process, and sometimes it’s not easy; learning more about yourself and coming to love and accept yourself and be confident with who you are, but I am there. My words, and the 19 books I’ve written so far helped me get there. They helped me tune into my own authenticity and personal power, and to finally be able to say, ‘It’s okay to be me, just as I am.’
Thank you for reading.
Love, Juliet xo
To enter to win a signed copy of my latest book, THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT; a journal of transformation through the art of letter writing, please visit my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the GIVEAWAY post! And to stay tuned for more giveaways coming up this month, select ‘get notifications’ on my page to make sure you are notified when I post on Facebook.
I’ll draw the winner on Feb 8th. Contest open INTERNATIONALLY.
Writing is more than just putting words on the page, or the screen.
Often, before that happens, there is a whole lot of mental and emotional preparation to get in ‘the zone’, or to get that writing mojo flowing.
Sometimes it flows, sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes we have to make ourselves write to get it flowing, but one key to help the writing flow time and time again, is passion. For writing itself, for your story, and for the big picture of ‘why’ you write. If you’re lacking in passion and enthusiasm for any of these, your writing can suffer.
You can be enthusiastic and passionate about writing, but have trouble getting words written because your story doesn’t feel alive or fresh enough to you… you can be passionate about your story but find writing challenging and difficult, or you can love writing and your story but get sidetracked and distracted because you don’t have a clear vision or passion for the big picture of what you want to achieve. Making sure these elements all work together is vital to boosting your mojo.
If you’ve lost some passion for writing itself, one of the best ways to get it back is to read. Read something for the enjoyment of it, and remember how powerful writing can be. You can also try writing for the sake of writing, without pressure or judgement, just write something without censoring yourself and watch how much lighter you start to feel when thoughts and emotions become words and are released from your mind.
If your story isn’t making you excited to get at the computer each day, then you need to boost your story mojo by clarifying your story hook (a succinct summary of main premise and plot) and making sure it stands out enough and is as unique as can be, deepen your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts, and get into the ‘feeling’ of the story and discover why it will be enjoyable and satisfying for a reader to read. A few tweaks and improvements can get you more excited about your book which makes the writing process a whole lot easier. Or, start a new story.
And do you actually know why you write? For many, it’s mainly a case of: “I can’t NOT write”. It can be like part of our DNA, something we feel born to do. Yet this doesn’t always compel us to write and to enjoy the process. Go deeper, think about how you feel when you write or after you have written… what does it bring to you and to others? Hold onto that joy, that bliss, that meaning and purpose, and bring it onto your day to day writing life. Keep reminders of your ‘why’ in the form of post-it note messages or affirmations to yourself, a collage of inspiring images, a picture resembling a goal stuck on your fridge, or simply a feeling in your mind. Remembering the big picture can help to keep the writing mojo going. You can also create a mission statement for your writing or career, for example, mine is: “Entertaining and inspiring myself and others through stories, art, and self empowerment.” I have this stuck on my whiteboard above where my laptop charges. If I get caught up with deadlines, overwork, or disappointments like bad reviews or less than expected sales, this helps bring me back to the big picture, to my “why”, to my passion for what I do.
The new year is a perfect time to think about what you want to achieve for the year ahead, and to get off to a great start with enthusiasm and passion… which is why I’ve created a fun and interactive online course called WRITING MOJO, to help you do just that! And even though I’m the teacher, I’ll be doing the lessons too, along with you, in the private group for course participants.
The course will start in January 2017 and contain 7 detailed lessons over approximately 2 weeks, but can be started at any time and done at your own pace. A downloadable version will also be made available. It is for all types of writers, beginners to advanced, and doesn’t matter if you write (or want to write) fiction, non-fiction, memoir, self help, health & fitness, or ‘how to’ books… it’s all about getting yourself ready for a year of success, creating and achieving your goals, and enjoying your writing life. And I’ll be there to help you along the way.
During December, pre-bookings for the course are $50 off the full price, and I’m also giving a free chapter critique to the first few students, so to secure your spot head over to the COURSES page where you can book easily online.
Hope to see you there, and I wish you a magical year of motivation, magnificence, and mojo! 🙂