At the end of last year I was fortunate to receive the Anne Edgeworth Fellowship from the ACT Writers Centre and Anne’s family. During the month of August, as part of the Fellowship, I embarked on a trip to Los Angeles (LA) and Hawaii. This trip left me tingling with inspiration. It was such a remarkable experience and one I will never forget.
I have been to LA before, the iconic city, filled with movie stars and sporting legends. I was thrilled to be back and I knew this trip was going to be greatly different to my previous visits, instead of searching for celebrities, I was trying to track down ways to fuel my creativity. For the past few months I have been tirelessly working on refining my stories, moulding them to be flawlessly perfect. During the process of following the “rules” of writing, I started to lose my creative spark. The more I spoke to other authors, I began to realise the rules don’t really matter. You need to write what is authentic to you. Your stories have to have heart, your heart. LA pulled me right out of the rules and into my passion.
I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference whilst I was in LA. This conference was one of the best! As I walked into the stunning JW Marriott in the heart of LA I was completely uplifted. There were conference attendees everywhere! More than 1,000 authors and illustrators from around the world had commuted to learn and grow by sharing their stories and their journeys with each other. Being surrounded by these amazing, like-minded creatives gave me such a joyous feeling. I felt like I had found my tribe. Every single session left me stunned. Ideas danced around my mind. My notebook was exploding with useful tips, inspiring quotes and contacts of those generously willing to help me with my own hopes and dreams. I was left motivated, willing to fearlessly take step after step on my own path to my own desires. From all the author talks, I learnt how challenging this industry is, how you continuously have to put yourself out there, how you have to just keep writing, not listen to judgement, believe in your work, knock on every door and move any obstacles in your way. I also learnt the importance of adopting the pace of nature. As I have said before I can be quite impatient. Being reminded about natures secret to creating marvel and splendour was just what I needed to hear. Sometimes taking things slow and steady can reap the most beautiful of rewards.
After a perfect stay in LA, Charlie and I boarded the plane to where it all started, Hawaii. From my first trip to Hawaii, it instantly became one of my favourite places I had been to in the world. The island feel, the lovely people and the aloha spirit that enveloped every corner of Hawaii made it a truly breath-taking place. I am very lucky to have family living in Hawaii so I have had the opportunity to go back several times. This time, I was going back with my very own Hawaii inspired book. Over the past few years, I have formed connections with bookshops around the Hawaiian Islands. I am so grateful for the support I have received from these gorgeous bookshops. One of the main reasons I wanted to travel to Hawaii was to thank the staff at these stores and meet the readers who had embraced Charlie within the Islands.
It was a delight to be greeted by the aloha spirit everywhere we went. From Oahu to the Big Island, Charlie and I were showered with kindness. At every book reading, my heart sang. The encouraging feedback we received from children, parents, grandparents and friends about not only Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii but also Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa made me realise these stories were reaching the audience I wanted them to. Speaking to those residing in Hawaii and hearing their favourable words on Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii was another magical moment, one that I will treasure always.
The month of August was an inspiring month! I love to travel and being able to travel with two books on a book tour was a dream. On return to Australia, I officially launched Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa as part of the Canberra Writers Festival at the National Museum of Australia. It was a special event celebrating the arrival of my second book with friends and family. After a huge month I intend on a quieter month ahead, a month of patiently creating, pondering the bursts of inspiration I have had and focusing inward. Thank you to all those who made my August one that I will never forget! A special thanks to the ACT Writers Centre and Anne Edgeworth’s family for the opportunity to travel and expand my creativity.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH