December is on the horizon and the husband is hunting for the camera, as we ready ourselves for the annual Christmas card photograph. The son is trying to coax Gary, his hamster, from out under the couch so I’ve retreated to my writing den to take a moment to look back on this year.
In June I entered the Greenhouse Funny Prize competition. I was shortlisted for the very same competition a couple of years ago. It was a scary thing to enter again. In the back of my head an annoying niggling thought kept resurfacing: if I didn’t make the shortlist this year would it mean I had regressed on my writing journey?
I put on my positive hat, shook off the feeling and wrote a story about a pigeon. It was terrible. It didn’t make me laugh and writing the first chapter felt like I was trudging through treacle. So I wrote a different story about a pigeon. I don’t know what the magic formula is for writing humour but if I make myself laugh that’s good enough for me.
And then the unimaginable happened. I won. I actually won the Greenhouse Funny Prize. Even now I am in total shock and amazement as I write this.
What happened next has been four months of utter whirlwindizziness. Yup, I know that’s not a word but I don’t care because I only blooming won the Greenhouse Funny Prize! Polly Nolan signed me as a result and not a week later she told me that she would be talking to Faber and Faber about my book.
Over the last few months I signed my first book deal and met my lovely editor Alice Swan at Faber Children’s. I even started work on another idea, which shall remain top secret for the moment, but this whole process has been every bit the dream I hoped it would be.
It has been a magical year for my writing and I really cannot wait to see what the next year holds. Here’s a cheesy note to end on: I’m not sure anyone could see this happening for me, least of all me. Writing has been such a long time hobby that turning it into a career seemed impossible. On my journey I have grown to understand that the children’s publishing world is competitive and tough to break. I thought about giving up several times over the last few years but writing makes me happy. And now I’m here, I glad I pushed on because I can truly say it is a real privilege to be able to wake up everyday and do what makes me happy.
This post is dedicated to my husband and my son, my lovely boys, who go along with all my madcap ideas without question.