taking a moment

I sometimes feel writing is a never-ending quest. An ultra-marathon with no finish line. But I realise it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s okay to stop and rest. To admire the view from a lookout. To be proud of the miles we’ve run so far.

I’ve been through all the ups and downs of the writing game since I first started scribbling stories more than ten years ago. Despair at how bad my initial work was. Rejections left, right and centre. Flickers of hope here and there, followed by more disappointment. And, as with any writer, my life has had its own ups and downs.

But all that angst ends with a book publication, right? I mean THAT should make a writer forever content.

Speaking from my own experience, having a full length publication is certainly gratifying – the huge buzz of reaching that milestone. It’s exciting to imagine people reading your words. But then the doubts creep back. The mind says snidely, Sure, you have a book published, but does anyone actually like it? Besides your mother, that is?

When I found out If You’re Happy had been shortlisted in the 2022 Queensland Literary Awards (for the USQ Steele Rudd Award), I was so happy I cried. Literally walked around the house, by myself, for almost an hour, with tears of relief running down my face. Because it turns out I was mightily unsure of the book’s quality, and having this shortlisting was such a boost from the judges. It helped me believe the book must be decent after all.

(pic of all Steele Rudd shortlisted books below)

The thing is, though – I know my brain. It will move on, and I’ll go through all the highs and lows of my new writing project. And when that’s complete, I’ll fret about whether anyone will want it.

But for now, I will sit with this positive news. Tonight, at the awards ceremony, I’ll gather with others from the amazing writing community, and revel in the delight of all the shortlisted and winning writers.

I hope you can take time to enjoy your most recent uplifting moment. A book just launched. A deeply satisfying day of writing. A shortlisting or longlisting. A published piece. Words of admiration from a trusted friend.

The writing industry is tough. If you’re only just beginning, you’ll know to be prepared for knockbacks. If you’ve been writing for awhile, you’ve already learnt about persistence. And it’s this hardship that makes it especially important to celebrate each achievement.

Cheers to all of us running our writing marathons, and to every highlight along the way. 🌻