Origin of the Writer is a series of essays giving emerging writers the opportunity to share their writing journey so far.
One of the lovely things about writing is connecting with like-minded groups. RWA Emerging Writers Support Group is one such example. I think it is the use of the word emerging that really cements something in the new and nervous writer. We are caterpillars hoping to be butterflies but butterflies are pretty fragile creatures.
I have been playing in the writing playground most of my life. I have scribbled away, attended workshops, found writers groups and kept working, and reworking until one day I knew something had to change. In fact I feel like I have been cocooning forever on that safe green leaf. There are so many challenges to complete the metamorphous. Money is a challenge (edits and more edits), the process itself is a challenge, being original and fresh is a challenge, re-writing is both a challenge and hard on the soul and feeds the already rampant guilt taking time from the family creates.
I had submitted often with positive feedback yet remained stagnant although my fears certainly managed to flow and grow until the writing dream appeared completely of reach. Then three years ago in a workshop run by the Queensland Writer’s Centre the subject of Joanna Penn and self-publishing came up. Joanna’s achievements couldn’t be denied and yet she made it look simple, simple not easy. I found an enormous difference in these words and felt inspired. I also detected a certain stigma attached despite the growing popularity. Belief persists you go this path because you’re not good enough to go the other, more established and formal route.
I decided I would I would try it anyway. Blogging and building a platform are encouraged. So I did just that. I started a blog which is now just over two years old. Amorina Rose’s Blog run from my website www.brstrickland.com doesn’t have a huge following but it is growing, and it has plunged me straight into the reality of deadlines and social media. I struggle with these but I truly understand now writing is much more than time at the computer writing and dreaming of best-sellers. Writing is patience and dedication, and things some of us struggle with, media being at the top of the list.
Reality can kick any goal right out of existence. The truth is there are thousands and thousands of writers out there wanting to do exactly the same thing we want to do, create that same perfect reader offering, the one that is fresh and unique. I have always wanted to incorporate my Italian heritage and love of travel in what I created. My father always said Etna, Sicily’s volcano, spoke a few rumbles the day he was born. I wanted that in my story. I wanted to share the warmth of Italy, the beauty of Australia and throw in some hot romance.
I didn’t know whether I had the goods to last the distance as a writer but for me, self-publishing seemed to be a perfect way to find out without letting too many more years pass me by. The immediate process gives me control. It also allows me time to devote to learning from others and to read and I need that. One of the things I am most proud of is finding a YouTube clip that suits my hero’s mood perfectly when his obnoxious behaviour forces my girl to run. Knowing how to link it is amazing for someone with a technology deficit. (Melanconia Il Divo Wicked Game) I love the mood this song creates.
The truth is I am an ordinary person, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a lover of coffee and travel but I have had a dream all my life and to follow it I have had to take a risk. The safeguards a publisher would provide are missing. It’s like a love affair with a bad boy. On the one hand we have attraction but on the other it comes with a series of pitfalls. To emerge I have had to undergo a gigantic learning curve. I now refer to it as a tidal wave, wave being a keyword. My character Lia in Unexpected Obsession, says the following about her relationship:
“Don’t think because I can’t stop this, I’m weak. I’m on a surfboard the size of my thumbnail riding a wave so high it has its own flight path. I can’t afford to fall off.”
I might have been writing about my writing career because that is how it feels. I have my novel Unexpected Obsession out there. It is the first book in a series titled The Unexpected Series. Bad boy–like, it had some rough edges. I shaved it carefully and the rough edges are smoother but the danger of falling off the surfboard still exists and is exacerbated by the now real possibility of reader reaction. Notwithstanding I have opted to go ahead and work on a print copy and to further expand my writing horizons with a poetry anthology entitled Emotions in Eruption. Once again I have opted for self-publishing an ebook with a view to taking it to print. I figured I might as well voice the fears in verse, and share them. We all have them and sharing eases the feeling (well, sometimes).
Emerging is hard. I feel insecure, a vulnerable fledgling but I am in good company. So I’ll battle those fears or better still I will let Lexi do it for me in Unexpected Passion, the second book in the series. She is older, wiser and hopefully plenty sexy.
Thank you to the lovely Theresa for this wonderful opportunity to connect,
One thought on “Origin of the Writer: Barbara Strickland”
Pingback: In print and impressed – Barbara Strickland