“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately…” (Thoreau)
I decided to start a blog because I’m on the bumpy road towards getting … well, somewhere. In my head it began in my teens when I was submitting to Smash Hits and entering journalism contests. In truth, it’s been a road of twists and turns since 2006 when I first went freelance.
I attended three years of writing workshops at City Lit, which resulted in being shortlisted by the BBC Writers Room in 2011 for their CBeebies screenwriting competition. I attended a masterclass taught by great people, including the Rastamouse team and the whole process was brilliant. It led to new work, for which I am forever thankful.
I intended to grow more from it but 2013 ground me to a halt. I stopped writing due to unexpected family illness. I nearly didn’t pick up a pen again but towards the end of the year, events and good friends inspired me. I started to think seriously about writing again.
In December I saw the thing I had been waiting for: the Jim Henson/Penguin US contest for a new Dark Crystal novel. An opportunity to write for the franchise that first made me want to be a writer? Just… wow. Naturally, I immediately thought I couldn’t do it. Then reality kicked in – with major work pressures, how would I even find any time to write a 10k word submission?
Having first plotted it on paper around a hectic work schedule, I shut myself in during the Christmas week and wrote 10,000 words – more words written in a week than I had done in a year. There it was – proof that I could do it, plus immeasurable pride that I had done it at all. I sent it off.
I shut it away in a little box of hope. I went out more, worked and wrote, as well as entering other submission processes. I tried not to even consider the announcement date. To even enter a contest that means so much to me was, I now a realise, a pretty brave endeavour.
Last Saturday I heard I hadn’t made it to the final five but I had been selected as one of just 20 editor’s choices from around the world. I was sad not to have been shortlisted but at the same time very proud of what I had achieved. And more than that – the idea that the Froud and Henson families had read my work was a massive inspiration. My six year old self, who loved the Dark Crystal so much, probably wouldn’t believe it if I went back and told her.
So the moral of this first post is to be brave. Go and do it, even if you think you can’t. If it means that much to you, it’s worth it.
(And make good, real friends. You’ll need them.)
Link to the Author Quest Editor’s Choices, if you fancy a peek: http://www.darkcrystal.com/authorquest_finalists.php