There are so many talented people in Australia working on books; they’re persevering, keeping the faith, hoping that one day they might walk into a bookshop and see their book for sale. I’m very lucky in that I get to meet many of these people through teaching or blogging or events. Every few months, I like to invite one of them to be a guest here to showcase their hard work as part of my hopefully-soon-to-be-published writer series.
This month, I’d like to welcome Jodi Gibson. I hope you enjoy finding out more about her and reading her tips and tricks for other writers hoping to be published one day soon; I also recommend following her blog as she shares so much great advice for writers over there, especially in her Aspiring Writer series.
1. Describe the book you’re working on in around 3 sentences.
Facing Home is a story of friendship, lies, loss, and the memories from which we run. Laura has returned to her home town after the death of her mother, a place she hasn’t set foot in for seven years. Not only is she faced with saying goodbye to her mother and selling her childhood home, but she will also have to confront old friendships, and finally face the tragedy that rocked her world during her last year at high school.
2. What’s the hardest thing about being an emerging writer?
Not having the support and connections that a published writer has. While a published writer usually has an agent and/or a publisher on hand, as well as editors to make their work the best it can be, it can be hard for an emerging writer to find the same support.
Self-editing in particular can be a very hard thing to do, and it is essential to have an experienced eye look over your work. An emerging writing first needs the confidence to put their work out there, find the right freelance editor/critique partner, and also have the financial commitment to do so. Having said that, it only takes one small piece of positive feedback to inspire you to keep going!
3. What’s the best thing about being an emerging writer?
You’ve got nothing to lose! There’s no reputation to uphold, no previous books to live up to, no publishing contract or deadlines. Essentially you’re a blank canvas and can write your own story, both literally, and metaphorically.
4. What’s your writing dream?
To score a publishing contract and have my stories read (and enjoyed!) by as many people as possible. It’s not the sole reason I write, but definitely my ultimate dream. I’d also love to have the opportunity, after I’m published, to mentor emerging authors and give them support on their journey to publication. That’s something I’m very passionate about.
5. Tell us about your biggest success so far.
Although I haven’t won or been short listed on any competitions (yet!), my biggest success has been putting my work out there in these various competitions. For a writer, having the self-belief in your writing and the confidence to put it out there is a huge step. I’m also proud of the small following I’ve built through my blog and social media channels. It’s lovely to have people championing you on and looking forward to reading your work one day.
6. Which writers inspire you?
Writers who have the ability to create compelling characters that make you want to keep reading. I’m also a huge fan of Australian authors. I think we have so much underrated talent in this country, so when I see a newly published Aussie author, it’s unbelievably inspiring.
7. What’s your one piece of advice to other emerging writers?
Apart from the obvious – just keep writing – I think you need to understand why you write. Is it because you love it? Because you can’t not write? Or do you have dreams of publishing stardom and topping best seller lists? There’s nothing wrong with any answer, or a combination of these things, but I believe it helps to propel you forward when you know why it is you write. And of course, keep going. Be fearless in putting your work out there, the universe will reward you one day.
8. Share a paragraph from the book you’re working on.
I picked up the photograph, bending back the edges where they’d curled with age. It was of the four of us; Me, Rachel, Ryan and Tom, sitting on the back of the farm ute. I remembered that day well. It was a few days before Christmas and we’d been helping Tom clean out the old chicken coop. We had spent the afternoon chasing chooks around the yard, throwing handfuls of straw and feathers at each other, and doubling over with laughter until we couldn’t breathe. By the end of it we were covered in a sour mix of sweat, chicken poop, feathers, and dirt. I remember Tom’s mum grabbing the camera and insisting on getting a photo of the four of us, in all our messy glory. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t sit still. The edges of our faces were slightly blurred, but the smiles and bonds between the four of us were sharp and true. I traced over the photo with my forefinger. The memory seemed so distant, almost surreal. As if those days had been blown away with the summer storm that passed through later that evening.”
Facing Home, Jodi Gibson