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Richard Holt suggests you might be closer than you think to a writing career

You’re banging away at another draft of another Great Australian Novel. The last one, languishing in your sock draw, was reluctantly rejected by a number of publishers who appreciated it and thanked you for considering them. Your friends are talking second mortgages and self-managed super.

You start to ask yourself whether you’re a writer at all. In dark moments you hear the word ‘pretender’ in the taunting breeze. Where is the creative life you thought was yours for the taking? After all, you’ve made all the blood-sweat-and-tears down payments … When will you have the writing career you always wanted?

Well if it looks like a duck …

You wake up in a sweat over a phrase that unlocks a sentence that unlocks something you didn’t know, until that moment, you just had to write.

You can’t remember when you last read something as a reader, just for the fun of it.

You go to more literary events these days than football matches or exhibitions or whatever it was you used to do when you had a normal life.

You daydream the reviews someone ought to write about you.

You don’t know what else to say when people ask you what you do, so you tell them you’re a writer, then wait for their questions about all the books that haven’t quite been published yet.

You have a whole shelf next to your desk devoted to dictionaries and thesauruses.

You could paper the walls with rejection slips … if only they weren’t all emails. Oh for the personalised touch of a two-sentence ‘no’ on actual paper.

At your best friend’s book launch you have to suppress a deep-seated ambivalence (the story arc could have been better developed and the protagonist is a thinly veiled self-portrait, but, hey, good luck to them.)

You max out your credit card at Officeworks.

But you still confront your keyboard at every opportunity prepared to submit to its long, mocking silences for the occasional tappety-tap joy of words when they flow as wild and free as mountain streams in spring.

And you dream of a career in writing.

… well, if it looks like a duck.

May your words pour onto the page,

Richard-name-signature

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