Coming full circle…
How this story came to be.
Three years ago when I became a single full-time working mum with two young boys, I soon realised that holding down my highly demanding marketing role and being actively involved in the boys’ primary school days (including drop offs, pick-ups, classroom helper, parent catch ups and event organising) existed as two mutually exclusive entities. To me, the two just couldn’t work harmoniously. I felt like I had to make a decision to either commit to my career 100% and minimise my level of school involvement, take a demotion with reduced earning capacity and hours or quit my job and find a new path that would work in unison with school hours and commitments, but also enable me to be present for the boys.
For me, being present won the day. I didn’t want to miss these important years. I wanted all of the lovely memories of their childhood and adolescence. I do love working and I love the social interactions and challenges that work offers, but for me it pales into insignificance against the treasures of parenthood memories that are there for the taking.
Therefore, I took the quite courageous step of resigning from my job. It created a jaw-dropping response from most, knowing that I needed to work to survive, but something told me I was going to be alright. I had studied PR and Marketing at university and worked in retail marketing for 17 years as a Marketing Manager, for companies like Kathmandu and GAZMAN in Australia and Marks & Spencer and Fat Face in the UK, but I now needed to find another way. Once I resigned, I ended up being offered a contract to stay for another 8 months, on reduced working hours, and then like magic another contract role became available, which allowed me to work my own hours and times for the next 8 months.
I really enjoyed contracting, but I also wanted to do something for myself. Something where I could be truly passionate and creative. I wanted to take charge of my destiny. So I started to explore what I could do to pull myself out of this current existence and into a new outlook on life.
I buried myself in self-help books and personal development online tutorials, Ted Talks and You Tube videos. I became obsessed with finding a new path that I would be passionate about. During this time, I also became highly interested in my own health and well-being. Inwardly I carried some baggage and I now had a burning desire to off-load it or find a way through my past and current feelings, thoughts and beliefs. This led me to undertake a course to become a Health Coach. Originally, I thought it might be the answer to my search, but in the end it became a tool that helped me heal myself and become a much more health conscious and happy person. It also led me to become a published author.
This online course, called the Integrative Institute of Nutrition (IIN), was based out of New York, so in terms of progressive thinking and current health and well-being trends and movements I felt incredibly connected to a wave of future thinking and consciousness that is steadily taking route throughout the world. The 12-month course consisted of weekly modules that focused on a different health topic and I completely relished every module with great enthusiasm as I was learning so much about myself through them. Each week the speakers on the specific topics would offer advice and recommendations to help you to become more conscious of your behaviours, be it through diet, exercise or mind health for example.
Every now and then one of the speakers resonated with me and in one of the modules the guest speaker was author Julia Cameron, discussing her book, The Artists Way. The topic was about trying to find your truth and true creative passion in life, which often gets lost throughout our younger years when we take on the beliefs and perspectives of our parents and others around us. She spoke about writing ‘morning papers’ every day when you wake up. These are just 3 pages on anything that comes into your mind and she said it will help you to rediscover your creative self. Persisting with this for a couple of months and following avenues that came up, I miraculously realised one morning that during difficult periods in my life I had always turned to writing. Even as a young girl writing helped me make sense of my world and gave me a sense of fulfilment that I felt was lacking in my daily life. I realised that I had written innumerable diaries, journals and short stories. I had even written an entire book on becoming a parent and then I remembered that I had written a series of 5 children’s books when Bailey was in child care and I was pregnant with Jack. This was a very challenging time for me as I was coming to terms with parenthood and struggling to hold down a demanding job. Physically and emotional I was stressed to the max. I felt trapped by the necessity to maintain my career and income, but I also carried around massive guilt about sending Bailey to day care.
That was until I realised that my perception of Bailey’s experience of day care was completely wrong. My awakening came when Bailey started to call his teacher Toria Ubbles (aka Victoria Bubbles), because of the beautiful bubbles she would blow every morning when we arrived at preschool. I came to see that he loved Victoria and had so many memorable adventures with her. This inspired me to write Victoria Bubbles and the Great Preschool Adventure; a magical story that parents and carers can read to children starting or attending preschool, which helps to open up the dialogue about this pending change and also gives parents a feeling of confidence and peace of mind about sending their child to preschool.
I worked on the 5 books for many months. Every spare second I got I was writing and tweaking the stories. My daily 3 hour round trip to work and back actually became enjoyable. Every time I stopped at a traffic light, I worked on it. It gave me a focus and I lost myself in it and forgot about all of my worries. When I felt like they were completed I read a few of them to some work colleagues. The outcome being that one liked them a lot and the other felt they need some more work. Being me at the time I promptly packed them away into the cupboard and forgot about them.
But 7 years later, The Artist Way had brought them to the fore in my mind and I got them out and re-read them. I thought they sounded okay and I even had completed a synopsis and cover letter. I didn’t think there would be much to lose by sending them to a publisher and if I never heard anything then nothing lost, nothing gained. A few months went by and I didn’t hear anything, so I just shrugged my shoulders and forgot about them. But not long after that I received a call from Little Steps Publishing and they felt like my stories had something to offer.
I have spent the last 18 months editing, working with my illustrator, Andrew McIntosh, designing and perfecting my first book, Victoria Bubbles and the Great Preschool Adventure and I’m extremely proud to finally call myself a published author.
I feel like in many ways that my new path is just beginning, but I’m extremely grateful for the old path I have had to navigate in order to get to this moment.
Victoria Bubbles and the Great Preschool Adventure is seen through the eyes of the children. Children have vivid imaginations and see much more magic in everyday life than we do as adults. This book was created with love, for every pre-schooler and their parents and carers.
My strong desire and intention is to grow this book into a Series and beyond…
Thank you for supporting my creative adventure. I sincerely hope that this book creates a magical and memorable moment between every parent, carer and child who reads it.
Love, Lizzie D.