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Victoria Street, Whitby, Ontario

There’s a long road ahead, I know… If only I could get out of the driveway

The idea of my writing a book has been floating around our house for a while now, its aura of incredibility slowly dimming to a more manageable glow. That quip I made about my life reading like an Amazon bestseller took root, and with a Pinocchio-esque insistence, demands to become a real book.

The timeline is Blu-Tacked to the kitchen wall, Post-it Notes and slips of paper spill from swollen notebooks languishing in drawers and bags; a killer opening line here, a long-forgotten-recently-resurfaced memory there. It’s time to make this a reality. It’s time to move out of the conceptual stage and come up with something concrete.

I need to get off the starting blocks – got any jump leads?

Do I have it in me to be an author? Some of you seem to think so – Chris, you always ask “How’s the book going?” Carole, you’ve pleaded and sent me various motivational tools in the hope of spurring me into action, Linda, you willingly share your time and wisdom, liberally anointing me with encouragement when I hit a fork in the road, and K, you’ve been one hundred percent behind me from the start and your enthusiasm strengthens my shaky self-belief.

The spirit is more than willing, the flesh isn’t afraid to put the hours in, but the brain has no idea where to begin. I’m full of admiration for Linda Janssen, Zvezdana Rashkovich, Matthew Hirtes, Kirsty Rice, Laura J Stephens, Lana Penrose, Alexander McNabb, Apple Gidley, Jack ScottFarzana Hassan, Maggie Myklebust and all those who’ve made, or are in the process of making, the dream a reality – and for Jo Parfitt, who’s been there herself (what was the last count? 28 books published? – cue dead faint) and created Summertime Publishing to help others mine their talents.

I’m just a rookie, blindly feeling my way along the path to publication. I follow and connect with writers in the hope of gleaning some holy grail of “How To”, or a key that I can use to unlock my own narrative – but I end up frittering my time away on social media with nothing tangible to show for it and no closer to my goal.

I’m coming clean. I’m clueless and I need your help!

My problem, dear readers, is that I have no plan – I have thousands of words already written but no framework to organize them. How do I do this?

A good starting-point for organizing material, in the absence of an eye-watering advance and a publishing deal, is to sort it into themes. So I’m asking you all, with your intimate knowledge of my innermost witterings, to tell me the themes you see recurring in my writing. I have a few written down, but an objective eye could help me turn over some nondescript pebbles and spy the gemstones embedded within. Or perhaps some of you who’ve trodden this road before can tell me how you organised the mess in your head into something meaningful.  What say you? Here’s a chance to help a starving artist – well, ok, that’s not technically true according to my bathroom scales, but you could take part in creating something that might ultimately end up on your bookshelf – how cool would that be? Failing that, some strident encouragement on your part would suffice, say, a cheerleading squad, a well-placed word to a publisher, or just some good old-fashioned “big ups”

aside: “No K, I didn’t mean hiccups…”