Wednesday 13 March 2019


March always marks the anniversary of when I started contributing to ABBA, which more or less coincides with my decision to leave a full-time teaching job to try to make it as a freelance writer. So it often finds me in reflective mood, especially on here. This month being five years since my first ABBA post, I thought I’d do a FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN FIVE YEARS post.

Some of these things would have terrified and discouraged me had I known them in 2014, some would have delighted me. I’ll let you decide which is which.

1.    You will work as hard as you ever did in teaching, and you will earn a great deal less, but you will be much happier. You will be able to go for walks most mornings and feel you're living more intensely in the physical world as well as in your fictional ones. 

Today's walk 

2.    You will continue to publish books, often to great acclaim, but you will also have disappointments – the ones that don’t sell much, and the one that hasn’t (yet!) sold at all.  You will discover that historical fiction is your favourite genre. 

You will continue to publish books

3.    You will think you know all about your characters and then a question from a thirteen year old will make you realise that someone else knows them better, and the buzz from that is wonderful. 

Thanks to the readers who have helped me get to know my own characters better

4.    You will travel, not far, but to places you hadn’t visited or in some cases heard of in 2014 – places like Gladstone’s Library, whose very existence makes the world feel a better place. 

Gladstone's Library, one of my new favourite places 

5.    Every month you will be convinced that the well is dry, and you can’t think of a thing to write about for ABBA. Every month you manage to come up with some old nonsense. Every month you will feel grateful to be part of such a lovely community of writers and readers. 


Nick Garlick said...

Lovely post. I was in a little dip as I faced a tough chapter I don't know how to write. Now I feel better.

Penny Dolan said...

Glad ABBA can still inspire!

Lynne Benton said...

It certainly can! Thank you, Sheena!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing what you've discovered, Sheena. I am jealous of your walks and starting to wonder about whether I should seek a different balance between life at home and in a workplace....

Sheena Wilkinson said...

Thanks for these lovely comments, everyone. I am so pleased that you liked the post. said...

Excellent! The pleasure of your morning walks and the photos you post is/are much appreciated. We don't have scenery like this in a Birmingham suburb.