Former Stawell resident Terri Mitchell is one of the few who have realised her life's ambitions.
While it may have taken longer than she liked, Ms Mitchell has published her first novel, Legacies.
To commemorate the occasion, she sat down with the Stawell Times-News to reflect on the journey, ahead of her book launch at the Stawell Library on Sunday.
"I've been writing ever since I was probably picking up pens. I just loved telling stories, exploring imagination and loved words," Ms Mitchell said.
"(Writing) was my way of expressing what was going on in my head; I was always better at writing than I was with speaking. I had the time just to stop and think about what words that could be said in a written format, whereas in the brain, you don't get a chance to do all that pretty editing."
After leaving Stawell Secondary College, Ms Mitchell completed an apprenticeship to become a qualified chef and trade-certified cook; however, the passion still lingered.
"After I graduated from high school, the became the Internet became a thing," she recalled jokingly.
"I knew I could write, and that's when the bug started, so I learned copywriting. It allowed me to find my jam."
Ms Mitchell began publishing eBooks, joining the millions of other authors in the wild west of online publishing.
"I tend to see something as a potential. In the early 2000s, I became exposed to the internet as a people were making money off this thing called the internet," she said.
"So I wrote my very first book which was my own cookbook. I didn't want to lose the cooking skill, but didn't know what to do with it.
"Sadly, I didn't have the funding to then go and make it all pretty with photos and get it kitchen tested, so while the recipes were all perfect. By that stage Jamie Oliver it become a hot new thing. And from that point it was like every man and his dog suddenly discovered the internet and created these ebooks."
It's a compelling quest of the mind and the spirit, seeking identity. Understanding maturity finding courage, escaping abuse story.
The learning process helped Ms Mitchell hone her writing skills, as did some professional classes in Sydney.
However, she soon learned the expensive lessons were not the best fit for her journey.
"I had enrolled in a 10-month creative writing course, but left after four weeks," she said.
"I said 'I don't need that I'm just gonna write a novel'. I set up my electric typewriter, because I knew using a computer was too easy. I just found that the typewriter made you commit to what you wrote."
A year later, the first draft was complete. Then Ms Mitchell hit a road bump.
"I read an article and I think it was the Sydney Morning Herald that said only two per cent of all manuscripts submitted to publishers are picked up," she lamented.
"That just shattered me. I thought I just spent 12 months writing a novel and if I'm lucky, my novel sees the light of day. That really set heavily with me.
"I ended up doing eight major rewrites of the novel and around 30 different edits.
"I approached probably five publishers, two of which I'd sent it to and never heard anything from them."
Then Ms Mitchell discovered self-publishing.
"Self publishing started to emerge about 10 year ago, but it wasn't a streamlined process then," she said.
"The process today is so easy and I feel like I'm in control of my writing. I can be the author I've always wanted to be. It's cost me a little bit of money but I'm in control of it now. No one can tell me what to do with the book.
I was driven by this need to tell a story and at the time I was trying to tell a story about the expressions in society and what we consider is acceptable for some but not for others.
"When the first proof copy of my novel arrived in the mail, I got this little cardboard package and opened it up. I looked at the book and cried.
"I couldn't believe this thing that had been in my head for 23 years, suddenly looked like it did.
"I showed it to family and friends and everybody that is looked at it has nearly, their eyes are popping out of their head, because the quality of the print is phenomenal.
"I'm blown away by it. It's been an incredible journey."
Despite the book evolving over most of her adult life, Ms Mitchell said the novel is not autobiographical.
"The two is about broken young adults, and the timeless story about life experiences and friendship," she said.
"It's a compelling quest of the mind and the spirit, seeking identity. Understanding maturity finding courage, escaping abuse story.
"It's a story about life."
She did admit the story was inspired by the everyday people around her.
"When I moved to the city, I was fairly naive. I'd never lived in the city before and so it was a big adventure for me," she said.
"I was really observant, and what I'd see was a real social imbalance. I was driven by this need to tell a story and at the time I was trying to tell a story about the expressions in society and what we consider is acceptable for some but not for others."
She's already eying off her second novel.
"I've got my second novel which is the first in a private investigator genre," she said.
"That's nearly finished in terms of the first draft I've only got about 5000 words to go and then that'll go through the editing and then the formal editing and then that'll come out.
"I've got a collaborative book I'm working on with some people and I'm putting that together the contributors I'm just creating the opportunity for them so that's coming out at the end of the year."
Legacies will be launched the Stawell Library from 2.30pm on Sunday.
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