Dear Me (circa 2000),
Okay – bad news. You are not going to get a book written and published in your special three week ‘Olympic School Holidays’.
Good news – you are going to get a book written. And published.
Settle down, stop jumping around, settle down! Breathe.
This all happens in nine years time.
Try not to be disappointed. I know it seems like a long time between now and then, but you have much to learn, Grasshopper. Even beyond publication you have much to learn.
You have much to look forward to as well. You are going to find a place – a magical, amazing writing haven called Varuna.
There you will meet your writing soul-mate. Her name is Jess and her connection with you will change your life. Jess will be your champion – believing in you with rugged determination that cannot be feigned. When you are ready to give up this lonely sport called writing, her encouragement will propel you and publication will follow.
Your first novel will be a YA fiction, arriving just twelve months after the birth of your first baby girl. You will celebrate with a massive book launch and Jess will be beside you.
The room will be filled with love and support. This will be a deliciously happy time in your life.
You do not have Jess for long.
And when she leaves, it will be unbearable.
But you must write. Write. And keep on writing, carrying her with you like a burr on your sock. Like a tattoo on your skin. Like a shadow. Like a muse, an idea, a memory.
After publication and after Jess there will be a time. The time will be hard. The time will feel vacant and barren. But as it passes you will discover it wasn’t unproductive – it was lying fallow, becoming fertile and regenerating.
You will meet new friends and form a Posse. Crazy I know, but it will make sense to you.
They will hold you up, stretch you out and push you forward. They will lend you their ears, their shoulders, their ideas and their courage. Together you will write your way forward. Maybe the Posse is a gift from Jess. You will never know.
A troublesome second novel will take some time – several years – but during that time you will learn so much. You will return to magical Varuna. You will discover the amazing synergy between reading and writing. You will find Kate and have Wednesday Write Ins! You will forge a deep and loving connection with your writing mentor Peter. You will know that writing is so much more than publication.
Beyond that? Who knows! I feel confident it will be wonderful and satisfying and productive and best of all – creative. There will be more novels, more publications, more articles, more friends, more money and more riches of a higher kind. And through it all, you will write. Write. Write and keep on writing.
Remember what Jess told you – you’re very talented.
But for now, get back to your three-week-novel. Every story must start somewhere.
I love you,