At the end of March 2023, I attended the NZSA Roadshow in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was a series of workshops and panels for writers (not readers). It had been some time since I had gone to one of those events, and I knew that part of my 2023 reconnection was to also reconnect with the writing community.
So, I went with an open mind, not quite sure what I would take away from the day. And it was within the first session of the day that I was blown away and brought to tears (in a good way).
The day started with an interview discussion with Witi Ihimaera. I know the name won't mean much to my readers (the name didn't mean much to me either), but as I listened to this 80yo writer, listening to his philosophies towards creating a writing life that you can feel proud of, there was one theme that ran through everything that he was talking about. He did it in a way that was true to who he is as a person… and he's still learning and growing and still trying to stay true to who he is as a person.
He's doing it his way.
As that session ended, I just looked up at the ceiling. "Okay… okay… I get the message."
And even as I write this, the tears are flowing because the message is so loud and clear. In moving forward within my writing career (and within my life), I have to do things my way.
Let me set the stage for the significance and importance of such a profound message.