I wonder how many writers out there, reading this journal entry, have been working on a novel for over a year? I'm here to tell you, that not only can you finish a novel within one year; you can change genres (should you wish to), edit your work and gain a publishing contract.
All in one year!
I had been struggling to write a fantasy novel for over four years, before I began writing Yes, Chef! I believed in my writing, but somehow I lacked confidence in my story. I kept stopping to re-work what I'd already written when I was only part-way through and started from scratch at least three times. My dedication wasn't the problem, I even went on a research trip to Egypt, I just lacked direction.
And then I attended a day course at Writers Victoria with author Fiona McIntosh entitled, 'Building Credible Worlds.' Fiona was an inspiration. Half a day with her helped me approach my writing with renewed vigour. Unfortunately, it didn't last. I found myself wondering; if I loved writing so much, why wasn't I doing more of it? So, when Fiona announced her inaugural commercial fiction masterclass, I snapped up a place.
I can honestly say I have never looked back. From day one, Fiona's love was tough, but I put my head down and really put into practice all of her teachings. On the last night we all went out for dinner and I began telling stories about my days in the restaurant business. The entire table was enthralled. I had a lightbulb moment, as they say, and Fiona encouraged it. I went back to my hotel room and began writing Yes, Chef! that very night. One year later, I was offered a publishing contract with Penguin Books Australia.
People ask me if I will ever return to my fantasy novel. I answer them honestly. I don't know. Maybe, but probably not. They say, 'What a shame to waste all that work!' I don't agree. If I'd never wanted to write a fantasy set in Ancient Egypt, I would never have attended the day course at Writers Victoria where I met Fiona. If I'd never met Fiona, I would not have attended her masterclass. And if I'd not attended her masterclass, I may never have written Yes, Chef!
Besides, I got to see the Pyramids of Giza. They're beautiful.
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