Telling Stories

May 27, 2017 at 12:20 pm

I think I was born to be a story-teller.

All my life I’ve loved story-telling in all its forms. The story can be mine or it can be someone else’s. It doesn’t matter. The enjoyment is in the telling. 🙂

It’s interesting as I look back on my life, as I can see how all the things I’ve learned along the way have helped me with my desire to be a story-teller. After all, if you want to be an author these days it’s not enough just to be able to tell stories, you also have to be a marketer and a salesperson, an editor and a bookkeeper.

When I left school I didn’t have any particular ambitions. I liked writing but it never occurred to me to try and make a career out of it. So, like my parents, I went to work in a bookstore. I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the best at dealing with the public and had to learn how to handle difficult queries and difficult customers. It also taught me how to handle money in that kind of environment.

After working in two bookstores, I began working in a office. I was only meant to do administration duties but the company’s bookkeeper was overloaded and so they got me to help her, first with simple data entry, later with reconciliations, paying bills, receipting incoming monies and even paying wages. I never thought I’d ever learn to be a bookkeeper (I hate maths), and while I might not possess all the skills, I learned what I needed to know to run a small business … like the one I would someday run as an author and editor.

Then there was the editing itself. The company I worked for had its own newspaper (it was a sizeable organisation). As some of the staff had discovered I liked to write, they encouraged me to help the overloaded editor, which I did. Then I did a six-month journalism course which taught me a lot not only about succinct writing but how to keep it that way.

It was a good thing, too, because the editor left not long after and I was asked to fill his shoes. I edited the newspaper for the following seven years, eventually steering it from the newspaper it was to the magazine it is today.

After I left that job, I began writing some novels for fun, just as I had for most of my life (I’d stopped while I was editing the newspaper). But I didn’t know much about writing fiction at that stage. Then along came Wombat Books, who at that time, was publishing non-fiction as well as fiction. They needed a staff member who could turn his/her hand to a few things, particularly editing non-fiction. Just about everything they had on their list of requirements I had under my belt, so to speak.

It was there I learned more about fiction and fixed my own novel, The Heir, before starting to edit other fiction titles, in addition to non-fiction. It wasn’t long afterwards that I also started my own private editing business.

I am still a story-teller and I think I’ll always be one but I’m grateful for a life that also taught me to be a salesperson, a marketer (although not a very good one!), an editor and a bookkeeper. These are all things I needed to do what I love most – telling stories.

 

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