Thursday, October 28, 2010

The sad looking mature aged student in the corner - will be me!

I am used to being one of the youngest people in a crowd.  When I did my Masters in 1999 there were only three of us under the age of 30.  At work, at uni, even in my Mothers group, I have always been one of the youngest people.  But now as I prepare to embark on a new postgrad course at University next year, I have discovered that the first unit I have enrolled in is actually an undergraduate course.  Which means that I, at the ripe old age of 33, will be studying with teenagers who could potentially be about half my age.

These kids will have been born in the 1990s.  They will have no concept of a time without mobile phones, a time before laptops, or a time when there was only three free-to-air TV stations.  Johnny Young Talent Time?  Wombat?  Hey Hey it's Saturday, when it was actually shown on a Saturday. Pre DVDs, pre 9/11, pre internet.  This is a writing course: will they all be writing in SMS-speak?  Will I understand them?  It has been more than a decade since I have attended a university campus as a student.  Has much changed?  What do I wear?

Oh my god, I am going to be the dorky mature aged student in the corner that no one talks to.  Worse than that, I will be the dorky mature aged student with baby vomit or dried cruskit on my cardigan.  While the rest of the group head to the pub after class, I will be heading to daycare to collect my children. 

Coincidentally, the year I start back at uni my not-yet four year old will be starting Kindy for the very first time.  We will both have our new backpacks and pencil cases full of exciting new stationery.  We will both be trying to make new friends.  Except she will be one of the youngest, and I may be one of the eldest. 

But I am guessing that is something I will probably need to get used to.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself

Hi Shannon 2010,

It's Shannon 2020, about ten years into the future and there are a few things I wish I could tell you as you start your new journey to become a writer. 

Firstly - you are already a writer.  Don't be afraid to call yourself that.  It is just as much a state of mind as it is a job title.  Just because you have not yet been published, and have not made a cent from writing does not mean you are not a writer.

Secondly - you can do this.  You have been able to achieve pretty much everything you have set your mind to up to now.  Why should this be any different?  Surely it can't be any more difficult than being pregnant and having babies.  There is considerably less bodily fluids involved too, which is always a positive.

Thirdly - be realistic with your goals.  Importantly, for you this also means don't expect too little of yourself.

Finally - you can't make everyone happy.  Some of what you will write will undoubtedly upset some people and bore others.  Don't deliberately set out to antagonise people, but don't try and please the whole world. Remember that you already have a group of people, your family and friends who support you and love what you do. 

Stay strong and enjoy the ride
Shannon 2020

Monday, October 25, 2010

Putting Myself Out There

Writing a blog is a new experience for me.  I am Putting Myself Out There in a way that makes me a little uncomfortable.  It's like leaving the house without your underpants. Or forgetting your mobile phone (depending on what type of person you are).

Normally my written rants are emailed to friends and family - people who are generous with their praise and stingy with their criticism.  One actually wonders whether my nearest and dearest actually read them - my most recent email about the exploits of my two daughters included - in the subject line no less - the misspelling of my youngest daughter's name. No one said anything.

My conclusions:
a) everyone was so dazzled by my brilliant stories that no one noticed the typo.
b) people saw the typo but were too polite to mention it.
c) no one actually read the email.

When I write to family and friends, the words flow. I march on regardless of little things like grammar and spelling.  I am uninhibited by punctuation and couldn't care less if a single sentence takes up an entire paragraph.

I know I probably cannot get away with that online. And so each word is cautious.  I find I am thinking so much about what I am writing that the words have dried up, like the fuzzy feeling in your mouth the morning after a big night.

But if I want to be a writer I need to open myself up to scrutiny. I need to put myself out there and wait for the tempest. Or perhaps the silence.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Starting a new life - today is as good as any

Today is the first day of my new life as a writer. Hopefully this will be the first of many blogs, describing my journey from being a Mum who loves writing about her kids, to being a professional writer, who happens to be a Mum.

Since having my daughters (now three and a half years and nine months old), I have loved being at home with them. I have enjoyed it a lot more than I ever expected, and now the prospect of returning to the world of work doesn't seem as enticing as it once did. If I have to work, I need to love it as much as I do being at home with my kids.

My dream is to be a writer.

And so I find myself on a Sunday morning in a blogging course, in the very flash computer labs at a rather swanky private boys school. Sure, the computer screens are covered in the fingerprints of hundreds of grubby little boys, but I am sharing this space with 19 other likeminded wannabe bloggers and we are all energized with the potential of what we can achieve.

Today is the first day of my new life as a writer. Now I just need to find the time and mental space to marry this new identity of mine with being a mother of two, a wife (of one), uni student, and home builder. Easy.
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