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.