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My First “Box of Books” Day

I did something quite scary this week; I tracked down a teacher I had when I was eleven years old to tell her about my book. I’m not really sure why I needed to do it, but I did.

I think I ‘d been reflecting on why it had taken me so long to start doing this stuff—writing and painting etc—and I felt that if there’d been more teachers like her during my school years then maybe I would’ve believed and tried a little harder a lot earlier.

You see, this teacher was the only teacher I ever remember encouraging me and my creativity as a child, and I wanted to thank her. You don’t realise the impact of a teacher’s influence at the time. Even in my job as a store manager, I like to think I help people grow in their retail career, and I’d love it if someone told me how much I’d helped them twenty-six years later…so I told my teacher.

We had a chat, and I told her what I was up to. And it was nice although I was a little nervous. I’m going to send her a copy of my book, and I really hope she likes it.

After that surreal phone call, the next exciting part of my week came around:

My box of books arrived!

Inside my box was one hundred copies of my book! Yep, that’s one hundred!

The box was delivered next door, and I had a late shift that day so everything was a rush. But I was so excited to collect my box that I didn’t care if I was late! There was just me home that day, and I was all excited.

It’s not as much fun when you’re excited about something, and there’s no one there to share it with so I invited my dogs and made a silly video of the occasion (check out my Facebook page to see it). I wanted to remember that moment forever. The moment it became real. The moment I’d always said I’d get to. That moment I learned I should trust myself more.

I sliced through the first cardboard box and thought I was inside, but there was another box. It was like Russian dolls or Pass the Parcel! All I wanted to do was get to my books!!

Once I finally got to them all—one hundred of them—I was again greeted by the bright colours of my shiny front cover. I had a wave of emotion come over me. It was almost like happiness mixed with pride mixed with a teeny (or maybe a lot) bit of “I told you I could and would do this.”

I still can’t spell and I struggle with grammar, but there’s help for that stuff. The imagination is all mine. The drive and commitment are all mine.

Never get written off, or worse, write your self off. Write your own story instead, whether that’s a book like I did or just what you want to do with your life.

Long live The Wotton Pack! Get your copy here.

Touching the Dream…my book in print

As I stood in the lobby of the posh hotel waiting for my editors, my stomach was anxiously turning over with mixed feelings of nerves and excitement. The moment I’d been working toward was finally here—I was collecting the very first print copy of The Wotton Pack and The Ghost House.

I was nervous because when you meet your hero or achieve a dream, you can build up huge expectations, and I didn’t want to be disappointed by the real moment compared to all the dreaming I’d been doing.

But I was not disappointed.

As I pulled the book, my book, out of the jiffy bag that contained it, I was greeted by the bright colours of the shiny cover. The familiar image I had on my fake vision book, the same image I have on my coffee cup at work, and the image that is everywhere in my house—that image was my vision, and it also kept me working toward my goal.

The image that I imagined and illustrated myself was now the shiny front cover of my very own book that I imagined and then wrote.

So as you can probably imagine, it was a pretty cool feeling especially when I’ve been working so hard to achieve this dream despite the many challenges.

I know that if it wasn’t for things like spell check and very patient, talented editors (who not only edit but develop and teach at the same time), then writing my own book would have been pretty much impossible.

But thank you for those things because my moment was finally here.

They kept telling me, “It’s just the proof copy,” but all I could see was my book—the piece of my imagination in a physical form forever. And that feeling was amazing.

Shortly after when I came back down to earth, my partner, Lynne, and I walked over to a spot that I used to sit and write at.

We cracked open my bottle of “goal champagne” that had been waiting for this day as long as I had.

It had been sat in my wine rack for ages with instructions on a Post-it note to only “Open once the Wotton pack and the Ghost House is a physical book.”

I was drinking pink champagne by the river, holding my very own book, and showing any stranger that walked past. I felt ecstatic. I’d finally done it.

Lynne took this moment to give me a “book present” (as we call it), and it was a collectable carving of Disney’s Elliot from Pete’s Dragon. That really moved me, because it reminded me just how much Lynne gets me. You see, I’ve always used Elliot as an analogy: he represents how someone can use their imagination to change their life. That might not be what Disney intended him for, but that’s what he represents to me.

And I guess that’s the path I embarked on when I started writing The Wotton Pack. I was using my imagination to change my life and guess what? So far, so good. 😉

My book is real!

If you do as you have always done, you will get what you always got.

If you’re a day dreamer like me, you probably have lots of dreams and ideas.

But making them real is another thing all together.

I read somewhere that if you have a goal and really want to achieve it then you have to live and breathe it. You have to work at it, give blood, sweat, and tears until you’ve achieved it.

I listened and did exactly that.

I made a fake book and looked at it all the time, imagining it was the real thing.

It was my vision.

The feelings that flooded me the moment I saw my very own real book, one that I had written and illustrated, are indescribable.

A little piece of my imagination in the world in a physical form forever.

It’s an amazing feeling when your dream becomes your reality, especially when you’ve worked so hard for it.

But I couldn’t have got there without the help of the amazing Global Wordsmiths and the support I’ve had from Lynne, my wonderful family, and my fantastic friends.

That little fake book that sat on my desk will soon be replaced by a real-life paperback version. My vision is now a reality—how awesome is that?

You can pre-order your version right here (clicking on the link takes you to my distributor’s external site at Global Wordsmiths).

Believe…

I believe that everyone has a special gift, a passion, or something they really enjoy doing. When I was a small kid, mine was writing stories and drawing pictures. Trouble is, spelling isn’t my strong point, and I struggle to understand the concept of grammar. I learnt that quite quickly in secondary school and even now, some people take pleasure in correcting me.

I had no interest in the school curriculum of art (I had my own ideas), and every school report I had described me as “below average” and “easily distracted.”

Compared to everybody else I was “below average.”

But the one thing I know and have known my whole life was that my imagination is way above average, and I would often lose myself there in times of boredom. But as an adult, I never believed I could ever become a writer/illustrator. The small kid I’d been —she believed—but once I hit high school, I forgot how to believe in myself. I was like that old saying—If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid. That was me.

It wasn’t until I was thirty five that I began writing and drawing again, and I only did it because I wanted to escape to my imagination from the stresses of life.

I began writing when I had a bout of ‘flu. I’d let myself get rundown, so to feel better I used the inspiration I had from the cool place I live and my crazy dogs to begin writing a story. I posted the illustration online where it was met with great feedback. I kept going, and people around me became as excited by my story as I was, which was a great feeling.

Fast forward a couple of years and a lot of hard work, I’m now publishing my own book which I illustrated myself, and I’ve even sold my first painting.

Of course, I’ve had a great support network and the best professionals to work with, and I’ve learnt so much from them for which I am truly grateful.

So I guess if you’re really passionate about something and it’s your gift, it will all come full circle. You just have to believe in yourself, take criticism, and learn from it. Take negative comments and show them they’re wrong, and never give up. I have my old school reports for Art and English stuck on my wall by my computer to remind me to continue to strive and show that I’m not below average. I now look at them and smile.

Once I got the Wotton Pack and the Ghost House under way, I never doubted this day would come because I believed and knew I’d do anything to make it happen.

The feeling of having my own book is amazing. It’s my dream come true, right from back when I was small.

As the saying goes:

Believe and you will achieve 🙂