For those unaware, my first novel was published in 2007. It’s a long time ago, I understand if you forgot.
I’d launched my first novel at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival in 2007, and after it came out, the natural query from a lot of people was ‘what’s your next one?’ But obviously, I haven’t published another book since. So what’s the deal?
Eventually, people stop asking if you’re writing anything else, then they forget you wrote anything at all – the momentary shine of being a published author dulls pretty quick (and reminding people of the fact just doesn’t cut it the same).
The next question people ask me is why I stopped – ‘why did you stop writing? Why’d you give it up?’
The truth is, I didn’t. I just stopped writing anything good enough.
The truth is, being a writer is part of who I am – I’m always writing, even at times I’ve got other things on. I’m always taking notes and putting down words, hoping they’ll all come together. Writing, for me, is not really a choice – I write because it’s part of who I am, and how I make sense of what’s happening.
That’s actually how I first learned that I was, or am, a writer, that this is what I wanted to do. After finishing high school, tertiary courses hadn’t grabbed me, and none of the subjects illuminated some clear career path in my head. I ended up working full-time, in a job that didn’t really have a future for me. And yet, every night, after I’d gone home, I was writing.
Now, what I was writing at the time ended up being junk – I wanted to write a novel but had no idea what I was doing. But it showed me that, despite everything, writing was what I wanted to do, what I did, almost in spite of myself.
I have countless notepads and loose pieces of paper floating around at all times, I’m always noting things down or imagining stories based on things I see and do. I’ve never stopped writing, and I can’t imagine I ever will, but I just, kind of, lost momentum for a moment, caught up in day-to-day stuff and not really able to give it the focus I wanted.
But I never stopped writing. I never stop.
And soon I’ll have something new to show for it.