I am very enthusiastic about 2019, mostly because I’m not quite sure what it will bring. All I know for sure is that it will feature lots of writing. For quite a few years now, writing has been predominantly a side-project for me. I’ve always loved it, but unfortunately it hasn’t been my sole focus because of school, work and other commitments.

I began writing stories at a very young age. My mum would give me a title and leave the rest to me. She was always keen for me to be creative – providing inspiration and encouragement in the form of spelling rhymes, handwriting exercises and story prompts. Writing stories always featured heavily in my childhood and adolescence, but when I became an adult it didn’t occur to me to pursue it professionally. I have no idea why I thought this – perhaps I was distracted by other things or was always keen to keep learning new skills, but the idea of writing stories stayed at the back of my mind until the end of last year when it finally clicked. After weeks of refreshing job site pages and filling out application forms, I realised what I’d probably known subconsciously for years: that I want to be an author.

Probably the thing holding me back from pursuing a career as an author was my lack of technical knowledge. I had the drive to write – a constantly growing stack of full notebooks was proof of that – but I hadn’t learnt the techniques of story structure or character development yet. At the time of picking my A Levels, I wanted to study Biology because of its connection to wildlife and the natural world, and Photography and Spanish were my definitive other choices. As a result, I didn’t have space for English, so a lot of my writing is self-taught, from books I read and prompts I found for myself.

To learn more about the mechanics of writing – in particular writing novels – I recently enrolled in Masterclass: a series of online courses taught by experts in their fields. Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking, Serena Williams teaches tennis, and groundbreaking authors such as Margaret Attwood and James Patterson teach creative writing. It seemed like the perfect solution for me – learning and making notes at my own pace. I already had the passion to be an author, and now I’m using Masterclass to learn the tools that will help me develop my abilities further.

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Alongside Masterclass, I’m making sure to continue my photography. For Christmas, I was given a “lensball”. For anyone who hasn’t seen these before, they are clear glass balls that can be used in photography to add a little refraction to the scene. I’m no expert yet, but if you align your camera so it’s level with the lensball, you can photograph the background within the ball, which brings some nifty new perspectives.

I tried out some shots in the garden earlier this week and discovered that it’s not as easy as it looks. You need to get the angle just right and – as always with macro photography – the focal point is key. These initial shots need a lot of improvement, but I already love what effects I can achieve with the lensball. Gardens don’t usually have the most groundbreaking scenery, so I’m looking forward to getting out in the wild to see what I can capture.

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So, the aftermath of university didn’t quite go as I may have planned, but I feel so optimistic about where this year will take me. I want to give myself the time I need to throw myself into writing and stretch my skills further. I can’t wait to see where I will be this time next year.

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