Turning Pro!

In case you don’t know, when I was 28, I went back to university to do a diploma in professional writing.

It was one afternoon a week and the other five mornings and three afternoons, I taught English as a Second Language.

I loved it.

There was a public relations unit included but I was only interested in the creative writing unit.

As part of the course, we had to keep a journal and it was assessed.

I would go around sitting in cafes, listening to people speak and note what they said.


Other times I would write about my feelings and responses to the material we read.

Once I wrote my thoughts on the message in a Bacci chocolate.

But mostly I wrote about my yearning to be a writer.

A bit like Anais Nin.

When I got home from teaching, I’d have a coffee and then get stuck into my homework.

Sometimes it was a short story to read.

Other times it was a short story to write.

Once I had to present the tutorial on Kafka.


When I moved to Switzerland the following year, in 2008, I couldn’t work.

So I started writing the novel that became Wonderlust.

I would get up and make a coffee, an instant one with full-cream milk.

Then return to bed with the laptop.

All I could manage was one hour at a time then.

If you want to know what else I did, you can read Wonderlust.

Because a lot of what I wrote was inspired by my first few months in Lucerne.

After the writing, I’d go into town and in the afternoon to my German class.

Later on I could write for two hours at a time and then for three finally.

But during that time I read all I could about writers and writing.

Somewhere in there I bought Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro.

I didn’t read it all but I got the message.

To be a pro you have to act like one.

I also read about the Delayed Gratitude Experiment.

Kids were given a lolly and told that if they saved it till the researcher came back, they could have a second one.

Those kids who waited for the second turned out to do better later in life.

I wasn’t sure I’d have waited as a kid but I was determined to be one of the successful ones now.

Delayed Gratification. 

I set up my life to orient around writing.

As soon as I woke, I’d do the two or three hours and then I could do whatever elese I wanted.

And feel happy.

I’d decided to teach only part-time so on the four other days, I got up to write.

Including the weekends.

That meant I couldn’t have more than two alcoholic drinks and I had to be asleep by 11pm.

With few exceptions.

Now it’s been fifteen years since I devoted myself to writing.

I never work weekends anymore but this Saturday I got up to finish a novel I’d been working on.

I started it in January and have posted some of it on my Instagram.

It was one of my goals for this year and I was so thrilled to complete it.

60,000 words.

I entered it into the competition.

Meanwhile, I was also re-editing my Love Queen memoir to give back to the editor tomorrow for publishing.

She wanted me to cut out half.

But in the end I wrote a new memoir about my FORMATION until age 28.

And am using the rest as the memoir I’ll publish first.

In the last week I wrote and edited 60,000 words for the second one.

Excluding the weekend.

I was doing seven hours and 10 to 14,000 words a day.

I couldn’t do that long term.

That’s why I’m SO HAPPY to have finished it today!!

I started at 7am and finished at 2.30pm.

Tomorrow I’ll add the journal parts back into it.

So it will be the 80-100K words the editor said it needs to be.


To do this, I need to take lots of breaks.

Good breaks.


Eat well.

Sleep well.


Have a massage every two weeks.

Do yoga once a week.

If you have a dream though, you don’t need to do so much.

You can start with an hour a day.

Like me.

Another book I read, back then, was about how you become an expert after 10,000 hours.

I don’t know if I’m an expert.

But I certainly am a pro.



What are you working on or celebrating?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Love to feel peaceful and happy but too busy to do anything about it? Tired of the turmoil?  Discover how to train your mind in 20 minutes a day to experience presence and flow, happiness and harmony, no matter what is happening around you with metastatic breast cancer warrior and author, Mireille Parker.

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Create Peace Within here!

Sarah can’t escape herself, even overseas. Will she call hot Oliver? Who doesn’t even know she’s there! But who is this beautiful artist Bonnie? Set in Lucerne, Switzerland, and starring a travel agent from Perth, Australia, Wonderlust is a unique modern philosophical romance about creative women.

Get Wonderlust here!

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