Well, this is a question I've been asking myself for quite some time now and it's one I'm continually asking as I navigate my way through life. And while we are much more than what we 'do', I can say with a hand on my heart, I am a writer. This statement remains true even even when I'm not writing.
I've been writing ever since I could pick up a pen, although at first it was a pencil. And yet it would be many years and many careers before I would finally claim myself as the one thing I've only ever wanted to be. Sometimes it's difficult to admit to yourself, let alone to others, who you are and want to be in the world. To do so means to risk possible failure. Of course, to not do so means to risk an even greater failure.
In my case I would pass through many different careers first, some more successful than others, including sports administration and management (I have a degree in Human Movement), acting and modelling, talent management, recruitment and eventually corporate training and coaching. These careers were interspersed with seasons of depression and emotional breakdowns as I continued to question who I was and what I was supposed to be doing with my life. These were challenging and difficult times but inevitably I would learn from each of them and move into the next phase.
In my mid-twenties I discovered a skill for helping people overcome their fear of public speaking which was born out of my own fear of public speaking. This fear revealed itself while I was living in Los Angeles and working as a television presenter for a local cable television station. Upon returning to Australia I embarked on a mission to overcome my fear and signed up to a number of public speaking courses. Eventually I was asked to facilitate one of the courses and found myself in a career that I both enjoyed and gave my life the sense of meaning it had been missing. I set up my own business and for the next ten years ran workshops to corporate clients across Australia and New Zealand.
As much as I enjoyed my work as a public speaking coach and trainer, I knew there was something more. It was after my father died in 2009 that I took some time to reassess my life. I asked myself the question, What is it I really and truly want to do with my life? Death of a loved one has a way of putting life in perspective and this time I didn't waste any time in receiving the answer: I wanted to be an author. Writing was the only thing I had ever wanted to do with my life. And interestingly, it was the only thing I had been doing consistently.
Alongside each of my careers I continued to write. I received my first break in Los Angeles when I was 22 and helping out a friend who worked as a Fashion Director at a Californian fashion magazine. She had put in a good word for me with the editor and soon I found myself with the job of attending to Hollywood parties, interviewing celebrities and then writing about it. Upon returning to Australia I worked as a freelance writer, seeking out stories and then selling them into magazines. I sent one particular article into Nature & Health, one of Australia's leading health and wellbeing magazines, and while the article was rejected, the editor offered me a role as a regular columnist. I would go on to write the column and contribute other stories to the magazine for over seven years. It had only ever been a side job but writing had been the longest position I'd ever held. Finally I decided it was time to go full-time.
In 2012, I wrote my first book Real, Raw & Original: An Authentic Approach to Public Speaking. It was about my experience as a public speaking coach and writing it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But once you've written you're first book, you never have to write it again. My second book Finding Paris, about a relationship break up and a subsequent trip to Pars in search of love, was a far more enjoyable experience. It was also a more enjoyable read, and has since been re-released this year thanks to my wonderful publishers at Brio Books.
My third book would never see the light of day and this sense of failure would lead me to abandon writing for the first time in my life. This, I would later discover, would be a grave mistake. I once again began questioning my reason for being, but without writing to act as an emotional buffer, I would eventually find myself in a dark place from which I could see no escape. In early 2015, I made a attempt to take my own life which led to three days in the Intensive Care Unit and almost two weeks in hospital. It was during my recovery I realised writing wasn't only my job and passion, it was my medicine. Writing helps me to stay emotionally and spiritually well.
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. While I didn't set out to write a book, when you have a profound experience there's a natural urge to want to share it with others, especially if there's a potential for it to help someone else who might be going through something similiar. To my great delight, the book was picked up by Brio Books, along with Finding Paris, and since its release has been receiving positive reviews.
I've recently finished my next book Meet Me in Milan which will be the follow up to Finding Paris, hopefully to be published in 2019. And I've just started my writing my next book having finally learned that no matter what is happening my life, my job is to just keep writing. While one story story might end, creativity keeps on going. The trick is to keep going with it.
So, that's all from me for now. I'll continue to have more to share. If you'd like to stay connected, and I hope you do, then just click here.
PS. And if to check out my books here.