WRITING YOUR FIRST NOVEL – When I was twenty-five years old, I decided to travel for a year, and found myself in Queenstown, New Zealand for three months. Queenstown is a beautiful, resort-looking town with a few main cobblestoned streets filled with twenty-somethings seeking adventure, a party, and some romance. I was travelling with my buddies Jessica and Emma, who I had met while on the road. On one particular Saturday afternoon we decided to go see a movie at the local theatre. The moment we came out of the theatre changed my life forever. As the three of us walked back into the light and started walking down the main street, I saw someone who looked incredibly familiar, yet I couldn’t place him. I knew his face. But it felt like I knew a much younger version of that face, like nine or ten years old. It was a very strange sensation. Many Kiwi’s also have blond hair and blue eyes, and I thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. I continued to walk back towards our hostel but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew him. I was racking my brain trying to figure it out. I turned back to get another look, hoping something would jog my memory, but was totally busted as he was looking right at me. I whipped forward in embarrassment and hoped that if I slowed down our pace, he, and his travelling companion would walk past us and I would figure out who it was. They were gaining on us so my plan was already in motion. However, just as they were right behind us, I suddenly in complete shock realized who it was. Just as I turned towards my friends to share the crazy news, I felt a slight tap on my shoulder. I was about to come face-to-face with my first crush and first kiss after more than a decade. I can’t tell you what happens next. You’ll have to get the book on amazon (Basketcasethebook.com). But I can tell you that as I wrote emails home to fill in my family and friends, they all demanded more updates and stories. They would sit down with a glass of wine and read my stories before bed. They told me I had the perfect romantic comedy on my hands. They told me to write the story. And that’s exactly what I did.
Unfortunately, my self-doubt got the best of me. The nasty voice was saying, “Who are you kidding? You’re not a writer. You didn’t study English literature in university like your roommate, who is a successful young adult fiction writer. You’ve got no business being here. Stick to counselling. You’re fairly decent at that.” What an unsupportive b.i.t.c.h right? I know! I listened to her for a while, because she was quite loud and was hard to ignore. But my gut told me that I had to tell this story. And people were already telling me they wanted to hear it.
So you know what I did? I sat down in my living room, shut that voice right up, and started to write my story. And as I began to write, I felt my entire body start to become alive. I felt the endorphins kicking through my system, charging me to move forward to keep writing. I experienced such elation, I begin to clap my hands furiously like an excited seal. It was one of the best feelings. So, if you’ve got a story to tell, don’t worry if this is not what you were trained for. TELL YOUR STORY! And even if someone has told a similar story, tell it YOUR WAY! Just tell your story if it brings you joy, because writing your first novel CHANGES EVERYTHING!