Thursday, February 25, 2010

Taking the Risk

My mother-in-law is an inspiration to me and the rest of our family. Here is a photo of her on holiday with my brother-in-law and his kids. Yes, she’s the one smiling in the front seat and NO this is not photoshopped.

She turns eighty in October and is currently planning her winter holiday north. In between she plays tennis and bush walks, volunteers at the local church and community centre and helps out twice a day at the small hospital for the aging in her town. She even has her own ID card and lanyard. Funnily for us Mum calls the patients there ‘the oldies’.

What my mother-in-law has taught me is to take the risk. To get ‘out there’ and to be a part of what is going on. To look outside the possibilities I have accepted as ‘the norm’ for many years. To see the opportunities available to me. To try something new.

In 2005 I was invited to a Breakfast with the Authors at the Somerset Literature Festival (I've been going each year ever since). The authors moved from table to table joining in on the conversation and talking about their work. It was my first encounter with the world of children’s literature (other than as a reader) and I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Then when a children’s picture book illustrator sat down at our table and began to show us her portfolio with samples of rough sketches and reference photos, I was immediately captivated. That was my Ah Ha moment.

In the ten minutes she spent chatting with us a new world of possibilities opened up for me. Instead of dreaming about drawing and painting I decided to ‘get out there’ and ‘try something new’. I enrolled at the Gold Coast Art School and began creative writing courses. This lead to a 3rd place award in the CYA Lit competition in 2009 and publication this year with Penguin Australia.

So I took the risk.

It meant having belief in myself and it meant being supported by family who always believed in me, like my mother-in-law, my husband, my children and my late parents. I am grateful for them.

Tell me about your risks. Have you taken any lately?

PS. I have a special visitor popping in to my blog on Tuesday 2nd March. Dee White will be calling by to talk about 'Viewpoint'. If this is a troublesome area for you in your writing then stop by on Tuesday and join in with your own comments. Dee is visiting as part of her Tuesday Writing Tips Blog Tour.

Oh, and rush out and get your tickets to the Somerset Festival, Markus Zusak author of 'The Book Thief' is speaking along with a host of other award winning Australian authors and illustrators like: Jackie French, Nette Hilton, Leigh Hobbs, Melina Marchetta, James Roy, James Moloney, Sofie Laguna, Anthony Eaton, Belinda Jeffrey and more... too many to mention. Go have a look.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post, Angela and I totally agree about taking risks - creative ones can be the hardest.

I'm looking forward to visiting you here next Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

Never a truer word was said, Angela. Those who don't take creative risks are those who are afraid of failure, but from failure comes growth and learning - and eventually to success! As you have proved, my friend.
And All Hail to your mum-in-law! She is really living in the true sense of the word!
There's a quote on my wall - 'If it's going to be, it's up to me.'

Tina C said...

Hey Ang

I love that you took your future by the horns and went and learned how to achieve your dream.That shows determination - and you need it to get published in this industry!

Well done - and can't wait to read your whole book!

Bye 4 now
PS Your mum-in-law is one amazing lady! Heres to her adventurous spirit!

Sandy Fussell said...

I'm not much of a risk taker but I've found that when I do, it is generally for the best. The biggest risk I've taken in recent years was to stand up in front of a class of school kids - teachers will laugh I know - but I was terrified. Now it is my favourite part of being a children's auhtor. BTW, your MIL is amazing!

Angela Sunde. said...

Thanks girls. Yes, my Mil is truly amazing and I just love her to bits. So much so that when she comes to stay I move out of my study for her.
Sandy, you are so in tune with kids I'm sure the students absolutely love you too. I look forward to one day doing the same.