My disclaimer, I have a form of dyslexia, so if you see any spelling errors, I WILL die of humiliation, but please tell me anyway.
I was diagnosed with this condition while completing my Bachelor of Creative Writing Degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. This entitled me to have a note taker attend the lectures for me. I hate relying on other people, so I decided to take control of my situation, and eventually got a job as a note taker myself.
THE best job in the world for an aspiring writer! I learnt about early development and the brain, education, psychology, marketing and how companies apply scientifically acquired statistical data to manipulate the consumer. Did you know, they measure baby’s responses to colours and shapes so as to predict, or as I prefer to say, create future consumers for their product lines? Seriously people, we think we have our own mind, but we’re being manipulated from infancy. It BLOWS. MY. MIND.
With this kind of, mind-boggling awareness, I began to see the relationship between the media, in all its forms, and consumers in a different light. This is why in my Mission Statement, you’ll notice that one of my points is to write in such a way as to make the reader question their belief structures. Belief structures should be fluid and dynamic, always changing, always growing. It’s only when we listen to other points of view that we get an understanding of them, ourselves and possibly the topic of discussion. We may not agree with them, and that’s okay, but it’s only when we question and look beyond what we are told or believe in, that We, as a species, can evolve.
As an undergraduate, I learnt a valuable lesson on social constructs/belief structures. My lecturer was, at that stage (and I’m sure she still is), a feminist at heart. I wrote about a girl and how submissive and oppressed she was and how content she was with that roll she was given. I was asked why I wrote my character like that.
I said, “because that’s how it is”.
“Why would you write the way it is, when you can change this world and write the way it should be?”
We as writers have the power to shape humanity, and isn’t that what the media does? I choose to be part of the solution and change the world one word at a time, by challenging belief structures, mine included.
I wasn’t always that focused on where I want to go. At the age of 37, in 2004, I gave birth to my baby boy. That was a big shock. I found myself living with my mother, no assets like a home or property, no savings or even supper funds to fall back on in my rapidly approaching old age; worse of all, no wealthy husband to support me. Bugger. I was really relying on that perfect catch. I was angry at myself for being so lazy in looking after my future and everyone around me copped it. If it wasn’t for my son, I wouldn’t have gone on my personal hero’s journey.
I made a decision. I can’t change the past. It is what it is. What I do from here on defines me as a person. I can choose to wallow in self-pity and make the same mistakes that got me here in the first place, or I can choose to change. For my son’s sake, I chose the latter.
How do you change? By knowing where you came from and making peace with your decisions. It took me years to sort through all the emotional bull shit of my past. As an exercise of letting go, I decided to write it all down. That was my very first novel, Journey of an Evolving Spirit. It’s very raw, and flies in the face of social constructs. It’s confronting and deals with all those vile subjects that society refuses to acknowledge, let alone talk about.
I strongly recommend writers to do the same, maybe not write a book, but choose your happiest moment, your saddest memory and your deepest secret. Write about it, feel it, relive it and let it go, but keep it around in case one of your characters has that same experience.
Be the hero of your own story, and let your creativity flow.