What winning something meant to me.

So. Most of you reading this will know that, just the day after my last post, I won a Highly Commended place in The Australian Society of Authors Mentorship Awards 2021 for the first draft of my Young Adult novel about love, communication and saving the banksia woodlands. The win filled me with joy, which makes sense, but I quite like to overthink these things so here’s exactly why!

Firstly, pretty much every writer I know experiences the absolute horror show that is the way the same words can look different to you one day after another. On good days, you read what you’ve written and go, “Hmmm that ain’t half bad, maybe I’ve got something here.” Or words to that effect. 24 hours later you may look at THE EXACT SAME WORDS and think, “Oh My God. This is the absolute worst rubbish ever written, so clunky, so awkward and unimportant, and not at all saying what I want to say.” You get the idea.

Winning this HC means some writers I hugely respect read my words and AGREED WITH GOOD DAY ME! So now, on a bad day, I can remind myself of this and more easily tell the negative voice in my head to go and sit in the corner and have a think about what it’s doing. Priceless.

Secondly, for me like for many people, the last year has been a sad one. I lost my feisty, supportive mum to a bleak, fast cancer and our dear labrador to a slower one. And, I had an empty nest for the first time. We don’t talk enough about the significant change that is children leaving home. For many reasons, but largely because it once appeared it might never happen, I am filled with deep joy that my two are out in the wide world, living their lives. But, oh boy, I miss seeing them every day. They’ve grown into adults who are fun to be around and they’re off being fun around other people (as they should) instead of me and…well you get my drift. I miss them and I miss me with them. So, yay for this lovely, happy news early in 2021!

Thirdly, as a Highly Commended winner I will receive direct feedback on the beginning of my manuscript from a hugely experienced mentor (I’m so thrilled to be working with this person), as well as be part of a Pathways to Publication program. Yay!! In addition to the obvious benefits of being a mentee, I’m a tad on the extroverted side and often miss the zillion billion interactions of a teaching day. Okay, maybe not every single one of them, but definitely the ones that made me feel like I was doing an okay job! Working alone can send me a little crazy (refer to my first point!)

Lastly…I’m sure I could think of more, I just don’t want to keep you here all day 🙂 …so, lastly, I’m so excited that this manuscript got noticed. There are themes in it that I care about deeply, not least: how we communicate and connect when we think we don’t have a common language and how we handle our responsibilities as custodians of this planet. This mentorship will help me write the best version of this book that I can and, to paraphrase something I heard Pip Williams (The Dictionary of Lost Words) say recently, have a better chance of ‘not letting down the idea’.

So, that’s the gist of it. A sincere thank you to the ASA and the judges of the Children’s, YA and Picture Book Illustration category,  Oliver Phommavanh and  Deborah Abela. I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have received this opportunity at this precise time. I know that there is sooo much good writing around and I was lucky.

Hmm, I’ve also got a kind of funny story to tell you about a pitch I did recently, but this post is long enough, so I’ll save that for another time. I hope you are all well and thank you to every single one of you who has signed up for emails – I’m truly honoured by the numbers.

May it be a good day at your place 🙂

12 Comments

  1. Always good for the soul (& ego!) when something you’ve devoted so much effort & love to is validated. You REALLY deserve this xx

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  2. Congratulations on your well deserved win, Annie! there is nothing like a win to boost the writing morale! x

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    1. Thank you, Marlish! For this and for passing on all the wisdom you have and giving us the most beautiful of creative spaces to meet and work in. Such a blessing to have done your Fremantle Arts Centre course and ended up with a brilliant writing group 🙂

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  3. Annie! I can’t wait to read the book, hold it in my hot little hands. With the mentorship you get, is it a dead cert thing to get published? Thanks for keeping us informed!

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    1. Nope! I still have to throw my hat in the ring with everyone else. BUT, I think one of the other big things about winning this HC is that it gave me new confidence that I’m on the right track with ‘voice’, which can be a very elusive thing to work out? So, I’m braver? xx

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  4. Annie, I’m so sorry about the loss of your dear mum, and that you also had to say goodbye to your beloved Lab, too. And then kids moving out, too. What a year.
    Thank goodness for the Highly Commended placing in the ASA Mentorships – for the practical assistance it will bring but also for the validation. We all need it, to shoo away those pesky doubts. Writing is such a difficult thing!
    Hope you have a happy and relaxing Easter. x

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    1. It IS a difficult thing! I look at the books I’ve written so far and think that I can’t even explain how they happened – after the event LOL! Perhaps you are better at explaining how your writing happens, though?!! Thanks for appreciating the contrast this award was for me and I hope you are having a lovely Easter too xx

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