I read Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes, a novel full of full of chronologies, bestiaries and other clever discourse devices, in 2014. I subsequently had a conversation with a friend about the moments in her past which, with the gift of hindsight, she was able to recognise as significant in guiding her to her current position as a lawyer. I have reflected on moments such as these in my own life and they are always those that shaped me as a writer. Below is the chronology of my writer self.
1989 – Born
1994 – Wrote and illustrated a story about a frog who was different from all the other frogs (This was found years later and shown to me by my parents).
1998 – Frequently used a children’s writing program to produce stories including the first part of a fantasy comedy epic (three pages). I was going to give it to my dad for Christmas. Our dog peed on the envelope while it was still under the tree (I still gave it to him).
1999 – Forgot to get my dad a present for his birthday so I quickly wrote an I.O.U to dedicate my first book to him.
2000 – Not wanting to watch a ‘boys’ movie with my brother and the neighbours (who were there to see me) I decided to write a novel instead. I wrote 4000 words in one sitting (the most I’d ever dedicated to any one story). Later I bumped the word count up to 7000, then trickled to a stop. The world and characters where based heavily on my brothers Warhammer guide book. I later wrote a short story inspired by this abandoned novel called ‘Ending‘.
2003 – Became aware of writing competitions. Made grand plans but didn’t enter any.
2007 – Dropped out of a Photography degree with the plan to get a day job and write a novel. My parents were rightly dubious.
2007 – Enrolled midyear to a Bachelor of Arts and took my first literature class.
2007 – My mother introduced me to NanoWrimo. I started writing mid-month (after my assessment was over) and reached 10,000 words by the end date. Again, the most words I’d ever written for one story.
2008 – Completed the 50,000 word goal of NanoWrimo. The first story I ever finished.
2010 – Graduated from uni. Submitted my first short story to for consideration. First rejection.
2011 – Started a blog and maintained regular writing habit for over a year.
2011 – Enrolled in a Short Story Critique short course. First exposure to face to face feedback. Monumentally improved my writing and my ability to edit my own and others stories.
2013 – Applied and was accepted to a Masters degree in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.
2014 – Took a weekend workshop on writing for TV. Opened my eyes to the potential of scriptwriting and influenced my subject choices for my Masters.
2014 – First trimester of Masters. Learned to read like a writer. Learned to write scripts. Relearned essay writing. Wrote two short stories and submitted them to comps and mags. Wrote a short script to be developed into a feature. Wrote two essays to be submitted to journals. Fell in love with the whole thing!
2015 – First short story published. Started volunteering at Wollongong Writers Festival and joined a book club (the main benefit of this to my writing was that I now had a network of writers and readers around me to share ideas, inspiration and critique each others writing).
2016 – Won my first short story competition!!!
2016 – Began pitching and writing articles. Began to see the possibility of building a freelance career.
2017 – Got my first paid job in the Arts industry and my first freelance gig for the education market.
What moments have lead you to where you are now?