While I've been writing ever since I could pick up a pen (although at first it was a pencil) it took me many years, and even more careers, before I could actually say, ‘I’m a writer.’ But a writer I am. And it’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.
As a little girl I loved writing poetry. At ten, my parents published a collection of my poems creatively titled, ‘Poems of a Ten Year Old.’ Feeling that little book in my hand with my name on the cover sparked the beginning of a lifelong dream… to be an author.
But first I would pass through many other careers, some more successful than others. They included sports administration and management (I have a degree in Human Movement), acting, modelling, talent management, recruitment and eventually corporate training and coaching, specialising in public speaking skills.
Just on that public speaking bit, I was not a natural. In fact, while working as a television presenter for a local cable station in Los Angeles, I discovered I had a debilitating fear of public speaking (not the most convenient moment to discover this). I returned to Sydney and signed up for every public speaking course available. I did so many courses, I was eventually asked to run them. By helping others to overcome their fear of public speaking I was able to overcome my own. In 2005 I set up my own corporate training company working with everyone from CEO’s to artists and helping them to become more authentic and confident communicators.
Alongside each of my ‘other’ careers I was always writing. I received my first break to write professionally (as in, I got paid) when I was 22 and living in Los Angeles. A good friend worked for a Californian fashion magazine and she put in a good word with her editor for me. Soon, I found myself attending Hollywood parties, interviewing celebrities and industry leaders and then writing about it. It was awful. I hated it. (Kidding!) Upon returning to Australia I worked as a freelance writer, including seven years as a regular contributor and columnist for Nature & Health, one of Australia's leading health and wellbeing magazines.
In 2011, I decided it was time to stop procrastinating and do the one thing I had always wanted to do: write a book. My first book Real, Raw & Original: An Authentic Approach to Public Speaking was about my experience as a public speaking coach. Writing it felt like climbing Everest in bare feet (not that I know what that feels like). It was one of the hardest things I've ever done but the best thing about writing your first book is you never have to write it again.
My second book Finding Paris, a real-life story about a relationship break up and a subsequent trip to Paris in search of love goes horribly wrong, was a far more enjoyable experience. Not to live through obviously - that was awful - but to write. I loved writing this book and I believe that makes it an enjoyable read. Plus, it’s now in its third reprint thanks to my wonderful publishers at Brio Books.
My third book turned out to be a dud and led me to abandon writing for the first time in my life. This, I would later discover, would be a grave mistake. Without realising it, I found myself in a very dark place from which I could see no escape. In early 2015, I made a attempt to take my own life which led to a stint in ICU and two weeks in hospital. It was during my recovery I realised writing wasn't only my job, it was my medicine. Writing helps me make sense of the world and my place in it. It helps me to stay mentally, emotionally and spiritually well. Writing, ideally every day, is something I have to do whether I’m published or not.
This experience would become the premise for my next book Write Way Home: Writing My Way Back to a Meaningful Life in which I detail the story of the creative challenge I set myself (to write two thousand words a day for thirty-one days) as a way of writing my way back to the person I was and wanted to be again. To my great delight, the book was picked up by Brio Books, along with my earlier self-published book, Finding Paris. One of the great rewards of being an author is receiving emails from people who have read one of my books and how it’s helped them through a dark time or put a smile on their face.
My next book Meet Me in Milan, which is the follow up to Finding Paris, will be published in August 2019. This might just be my favourite book so far. It’s an uplifting story which will put a smile on your face and perhaps even inspire you to jump on a plane and head to Italy, truly the home of la dolce vita.
Through all this, one thing I’ve learned is, while stories begin and end, creativity is infinite. The trick is to just keep creating, in whatever form that takes. For me, that’s writing stories that mean something to me and which I hope will make a difference to others.
So, that's all from me for now. Thanks for dropping by. If you'd like to stay connected, and I hope you do, then just click here.