|Weekend visiting Melbourne. Interesting restaurant names.|
After telling you a little about me, my journey and how I got to the point where I wanted to finally write my novel in my last blog, we now come up to more recent months. Lindsey suggested that this blogging malarkey is far more interesting if it is personal, warts and all, which (to be honest) is pretty scary. But I’ll give it a go, as we’re amongst friends here!
I guess it’s important to acknowledge that fitting the writing of a novel around your normal life is pretty tough. I am not in a financial position to just quit my job and work full time on getting this novel finished. Therefore I’ve been juggling work and personal stuff for months and months and months, while trying to put as close to 100% as I can into a creative project. Something has to give when life gets this hectic, and this is where this blog becomes a little more serious, so I apologise in advance if there are no super-smiley, sunshine-and-roses, skipping-in-the-sunshine moments. But here is an honest reflection on the last year of my project:
I love my job as a recruiter and I love putting 100% into it. I’m a passionate person generally, and that includes being committed and enthusiastic about what I do for a living. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist in and out of work. I focus fully on the job at hand during the day and then at night I can think about my novel, which amounts to only a few hours of novel time per week.
There have been delays on this journey of mine, and in the interest of genuineness and authenticity, I’d like to share with you that these were caused by the breakup of my long-term relationship. I am lucky that there is no animosity between my ex and me, but going through a break up is one of the hardest personal things you can face. We’ve all been through it and we all know how incredibly painful it is - essentially, you are grieving the loss of someone from your life. My relationship was extremely important to me and my partner is an amazing woman who deserves the best in life. Despite making the awful decision to walk away, I am still heartbroken. At the time I essentially fell apart. I questioned everything, as you do in this sort of situation – my identity, my purpose, whether I’m a good person, whether I’m attractive, whether I did the right thing and I worried incessantly about my ex and how she was coping.
Understandably, this break up took my focus away from the novel. It’s hard to write about love when you are going through this rollercoaster of emotions and the novel took a back seat. It was like tiny pieces of shattered glass were spread throughout my body and I took a long time to find each individual piece and slowly put them back together into some semblance of what I used to be.
Eventually though, the novel became an outlet for me. The break up put a different perspective on what I had already written and shaped the bits I hadn’t. Then as I started to feel a bit better I decided, in my wisdom, to acknowledge a lifelong regret and face it head on. I’ll keep this bit vague, but it basically turned out that the situation I had always thought about and harboured regret for was not as I had thought. When I found that out, it completely changed my perspective on that period of my life: It is quite confronting to have a key moment of your life invalidated through misinterpretation and misunderstanding. At that point I decided the novel was a complete waste of time and pretty pointless.
That is a brutally honest reflection of recent months. I literally thought about not even bothering to carry on writing - the concept felt fake, the story felt wrong and like I didn’t really understand what I had written anymore. I became like a petulant teenager – morose, self-indulgent and overcome with self-doubt. I felt like the story was rubbish, that it was written badly and so I gave up. That is, until two very lovely ladies asked to read the novel. This is where I have to thank my two buddies who I’ll nickname Thelma and Louise.
Louise read it first and she read it in a day - She said she couldn’t put it down and loved it. She said she could completely relate to the protagonist. Pretty cool. Then Thelma read it. She also read the story in just a couple of days. Both of them were so genuinely excited about the story, Louise even called me to go through the details of the journey taken by the main character, which ignited a renewed purpose and confidence in me. They both reminded me why I had written the story in the first place and challenged my recent thinking: So what if I was doubting the original life event that the concept was based on? The motivation for writing it was genuine and my aim had been achieved. Thelma and Louise’s reaction was something I was genuinely touched by: That they both could relate to the main character and her journey means so much to me.
They turned my attitude around completely and made me excited about my project again. I am reinvigorated, committed, motivated and not to mention champing at the bit to get this novel published. My hope is that it touches people’s lives and helps them put things into perspective. I hope my novel is read by lots of people and I hope it helps them realise that life is full of bumps; you just have to ride them out and ultimately it doesn’t matter how many bumps are in the road – you slow down and go over them with care, you don’t stop and turnaround - keep going because ultimately you will still end up at the same destination and those bumps will be well worth the ride. Those hopes are nice to hold onto while I piece my life back together again and rediscover who I am.
Written by Corina Hawkins, soon to be author of ‘Tattoos of memories’ and creatively bossed by Lindsey Barnett, who is a legend.