Friday, February 7, 2014
The path to publication (1c)
I did keep a diary during that first season on the road, but it bore more resemblance to my Year 4 'Fed the chooks. School' diaries than to my London hostel journal. During the training trip from hell, our diary and planning was drilled into us. It helped. With so many factors involved in every trip, having a checklist meant less chance of stuffing up and ruining a tour for clients. It meant that two weeks after the tour began, we'd arrive at a campsite and they would have the right number of beds for us, or feed the three strict vegetarians, or have the right number of seats reserved for an optional dinner out. The downside was that it was purely utilitarian. I didn't add in any notes about nutbag clients or fights with drivers or crazy things that happened that day. I meant to but I was so busy with my planning diary that when I finally had some time on the coach where I wasn't writing or spieling or planning with my driver or chatting to clients, all I was good for was looking out the windscreen at the scenery whizzing by. However I don't regret that, as clearly I needed a mental break whenever I could get it, and perhaps that contributed to the longevity of my touring career. It also meant that although I wasn't smelling the roses from inside the travelling coach, I was soaking in the scenery. And what a varied and picturesque range of landscape there was. I never got tired of looking at it and it's imprinted on my memory. None of this helps much when it comes to writing up my memoir. It helps for the ingrained details, the things that I'll never forget, but it doesn't help for the day to day incidents that are fun to rant, write and read about. Luckily I'm a ranter from way back. I can put up with most things, provided I get to have a private conversation with a like-minded individual, preferably over a glass of wine, and rant and rave about all the kooks in the world and often on my tour. I found the ideal person in other road crew, particularly other tour managers. Having practiced telling my more outlandish stories, when I returned home to Australia at the end of that first season, I practiced some more. I regaled friends and family over my summer down under. They were suitably shocked, impressed and entertained. I had some free time, mooching off my folks (back in that same country town I'd worked so hard to get away from), and borrowed my sister's computer and started writing. At first I wrote a list of chapter headings, the main crazy stories that I had been sharing with friends. Then I went further, and started writing them out in full. As much as I could remember. This time I included details, especially the bits that my local audience had enjoyed, and I also included how I felt. Emotions. By the end of that summer, I had fifty pages written. Fantastic, I thought. Once I finish touring - I planned to do one more season then return to work as a laywer - then I'll write up all my stories and publish a book. Easy. I'd always wanted to write, my early diaries were followed by more and more short stories that had been a pleasure to write and got me good marks and extra readers all through high school, but like what had happened with my journal, once I'd reached university and was having such a wild time (relatively speaking) away from home, I stopped creative writing and merely wrote essays. Finally, a lifelong dream was within reach. Or so I thought. I was a very long way off. I didn't know it, but it would be a decade until I published my first book and it would be a difficult path to publication. I would do it, I would fulfil my dream, but I had no idea what would be involved.