Making the Leap

Sarah VaughanSarah Vaughan tells us about her leap of faith, and how it changed her life.

I am not a physically brave person or fearless, in the least. And yet, three years ago, I took quite a leap.
It was the night of my 40th birthday and, fuelled by Prosecco and an awareness that I wasn’t getting any younger, I stood up infront of a group of friends and declared, “I’m going to write a novel and get it published this year!”
To any published writer – and many aspiring ones – this The Art of Baking Blindmust seem naïve – not least because I’d only written 12,000 words of this novel and hadn’t yet approached an agent. I’d never attended a creative writing course and yet I was buoyed by two things: one, I had an idea I couldn’t shake off and, two, I’d been a journalist for 17 years.
I knew I could write. What I didn’t know was if I could write any more than a 600-word page lead.
If there was a leap in my word length, there was also a leap to be
made by my family. My youngest had just started school and, having earned very little as a freelance, the plan had always been that I would find a more financially reliable job somewhere. But I still had a little redundancy money from The Art of Baking BlindThe Guardian: enough to provide a tiny, battered parachute if I made the leap. It buoyed me up, the knowledge of this support; made me bolder than I’d normally be. I would get a publishing deal within a year.
In the end, it took 13 months and I now realise I was ridiculously lucky. My ignorance of the difficulty of being published – and a quiet self-belief- let me make that jump, away from the known certainties of a feature, and into the unknown world of publishing.
Ironically, in many ways I’m now more cautious: fretting about whether my second and now third novels are good enough; not always writing with the sheer gumption that saw me wrest that first novel into shape. I procrastinate and prevaricate. I know what’s at stake.
27Jan_FarmOnTheEdgeOfTheWorld-2
Making that leap was uncharacteristic and yet it changed my life. I’m grateful for it every single day. This leap year,
I’m going to try to recapture that exuberance – or remember it, at least.

Sarah Vaughan is the author of two novels: The Art of Baking Blind and The Farm at the Edge of the World.

 

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