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Choose your struggle

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

Choose your struggle

A week ago I decided I was going to walk away from my stable and secure public service job and start my own business.

Told my manager, decided on a date (20th June). All very exciting, even a little dramatic.

That night there was so much anxiety in the front of my neck I could barely speak.

It’s a good job, after all. I work four days per week. The days I’m not at work I spend writing novels. It’s been a good arrangement for several years. In fact, some years were brilliant, the work that came my way was varied and challenging.

But I couldn’t shake the niggling desire to start a business. It just never left me.

Nice as it is to have ideas, the reality of setting up a business hit me like a freight train. Two kids need me to sort my shit out, FAST!!

My head was spinning. I went through the ‘What the fuck have I done??!!’ self talk. I don’t know what I’m doing! No regular pay packet! No more paid leave! Where do I even start?

Why make things hard for myself?

When I feel really alone, when I doubt myself, when I think my problems are insurmountable, I read. I read about other people who’ve faced pretty fucked up situations. I read about the problems people have faced. I read about how most people have hopes and dreams that have been cruelly thwarted by circumstances. It made me feel less alone. In fact, it became abundantly clear that my problem was in no way unique. It was just a problem. Just a bit of struggle. And we’ve all got them. In spades.

It got me thinking that to want a pain-free, struggle-free life is just absurd. Life is only possible with struggle. You can never, ever fully comprehend all the consequences of the choices you make or the circumstances that come your way. And they’ll be a mixed bag of truly extraordinarily wonderful consequences, and downright ugly painful ones.

When I came to understand this, the anxiety that was stuck in my throat left. I thought about what I truly value, what I wanted to be defined by, what I’m good at, what’s meaningful to me, and what’s going to drive me forward.

Even if there’s uncertainty, and quite possibly failure, I’m going to start this business.

We are, and always will be, defined by what we’re willing to struggle for.

So now, I sit at my desk and I plan, I strategize, I develop templates, I develop my systems, I do online courses. My writing for the second book has also improved. It’s punchy, and smart, and emotive. And I’ve realised there’s a strange kind of joy in this struggle stuff. I’m more motivated and enthusiastic now than at any other point in my life.

It took a long time to get here. I’ve had to really be dragged out of my comfort zone and I left scratch marks leaving, that’s for sure. I was always waiting to be ready.

But we’re never ready. I’m still not ready. Life’s too short. And there’s too much shit to do.

I bet you have a bloody interesting life with struggles of your own.  We’re all in this together. Please drop me a line at hello@jmlawler.com I’d love to hear from you. Really, I would love that.

~ Jann x

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And the next book is….

The second book in The River and the Ravages series is well underway, and has progressed from being a nameless, amorphous thing to a book with 1) a title, 2) a description, and best of all, 3) a pre-order arrangement. Yes, pre-order is here. But let’s get to that in a moment. The title of book two is…drum roll, please….

The Tempest and the Turning.

I’m incredibly excited by this one. It’s been going great. But hey, I’m bias. You be the judge! The book blurb goes like this…

You can’t run from who you are…

Aaliya, a woman with blood on her hands and a past to bury, sets off on a journey across the heart of The Reach determined to start a new life.

By her side is her sister, Maddalena, a self-proclaimed sibling rescuer and unabashed political schemer, who’s determined to use her smarts to lead an easy life.

When they come across burnt ruins in a remote corner of the realm, it becomes clear the past is never buried, the present is far from safe, and their brittle plans have just been shattered.

As war looms and threatens to turn The Reach to ash, both must make choices about the power they hold and what’s worth fighting for.

In a world where storms rage and lives turn…where blades are sharp, words are sharper, and alliances the deadliest weapon of all…they are about to discover you can’t run from who you are.

Interested? Intrigued? The book will be available in April 2019…which probably seems like a long time away, but soon it will be Christmas, and then it will be Easter…you get the picture. Order your pre-order at https://www.books2read.com/u/mleXnB. For those of you who prefer a print copy, I’ll include the pre-order details for print soon.

Luck favours the prepared mind.

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Forthcoming attractions (and me!)

Ah, that long, lovely lull at the start of the year. Everyone (certainly me, anyway) dragging themselves out of holiday mode. I’ve made it to mid-February and looking down the barrel of the remaining months in 2018…it looks set to be a biggie.

Book 2 in The River and the Ravages trilogy is now in full swing. I’ve done my all important plans, I’ve pondered, I’ve ruminated…and now I’m writing like a demon. Every which way you look at it, there’s going to be edginess and grandiose struggles, characters are going to find themselves up to their eyeballs in problems, lessons are going to be learned the hard way, and of course there will be love and sex and beauty. Oh, not to mention hilarious banter. Something you’ve come to expect from me are well-developed characters and a conflict driving the main character to seek solutions…and you won’t be disappointed. This is all verging dangerously close to hype but sometimes you’ve got to put faith in your writers. And yes, I have a book title, and no, I’m not telling you what it is. Not yet anyway. Like all good maverick creatives, I must retain some shred of mystery, you know…

Some people have been asking about the audiobook version of The River and the Ravages. The process has been BIG…even I’ve been surprised. There’s so much involved…narration of course, but also sound engineering, rights and privileges, distribution and so on. But it’s so close now folks. Any day now it will be available and I’ll let you all know when and where and how so you can listen and enter your own river and ravage world while you walk the dog, smash those muscles at the gym, cook dinner, commute to work…

As I’m not quite at the stage (okay…not remotely at the stage) of chucking in my day job and being a writer full-time, I also will be endeavouring to transform the business of the South Australian public service agency where I work as a Project Development Officer. Yes, I have a whole other life outside writing which I fulfill like the good taxpayer that I am. But rest assured, writing is my love and I spend every waking moment outside my day job writing for your reading pleasure. Awww.

And for those who may be curious, the lovely artwork in the picture was done by my thirteen year-old-daughter. What a treasure she is. She helps to make my instagram account interesting!

Right, got to go

Books don’t write themselves. Yet, anyway.

JM

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Still on the roller coaster

Find myself in a strange place between exhilaration and nervous as hell. Bear with me. Writing a book and launching it out into the world is not too unlike the feeling when I moved out of home. Couldn’t be happier but uneasy about the next stage. The pile of self-doubt only outdone by an extra crumb of  self-belief. It’s been incredibly hard work. Kind of like climbing the mountain with lead weights strapped to your ankles only to find at the top there’s another mountain to climb. But as Cheryl Strayed eloquently put it, “Writing is hard for every last one of us…coal mining is harder.”

There’s been some lessons along the way to completing a book:

  • It takes time. Are there some solitary hours involved in this business…!
  • Write what you want and what you love. You’re stuck with it for a long time.
  • Ditch perfection. It’s no friend of yours.
  • Approach the whole damn enterprise like a small child: curious, unburdened, full of possibilities.

And now here I am, and here you are. Still on the roller coaster. Ready for the big dip but hoping for the climb on the other side. And you’re wondering about that book I’ve written. I assure you it’s packed with sex, death, romance, violence, swords, tears, wit and wisdom and is quite simply an unforgettable addition to the fantasy genre.

So think of me hunched over my keyboard all day. Get hold of a copy of The River and the Ravages, give it a go, write a review. The God of Good Luck and Warm Fuzzy Feelings will shine down on your efforts. You can always resell it on ebay and buy beer.

Thanking you.

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