THE UNOFFICIAL BIO
This is the rambling introduction which won't feature any quotes about my writing or a list of accolades. This is just me.
Hi, I'm Stefanie London. And yes, I was that kid who always had her nose stuck in a book. I grew up on a steady diet of Baby Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High books. I devoured anything written by R.L. Stine and Agatha Christie, and eventually graduated onto my mother's Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins and VC Andrews books (probably earlier than I should have!)
After finishing high school (taking as much English/Literature and as little mathematics as I possibly could), I went to on to get a business degree from La Trobe University in Melbourne. Ah the Eagle Bar, so many memories. I spent the subsequent decade building my experience in the fields of Human Resources, Learning and Development, Change Management and Corporate Communications. I found myself changing jobs frequently (to the horror of my ever-conservative grandparents) and climbing the corporate ladder with steady promotions. I was ticking all the boxes I'd been told were important - shiny degree, great job, loving husband, a house in the suburbs. But I wasn't fulfilled.
A life-changing moment
After scoring a two-book publishing deal with Harlequin Mills & Boon in late 2013, I suddenly understood what my life had been missing. I'd tried my hand at other creative endeavours (namely makeup artistry and beauty blogging), but it hadn't nourished my soul the way I'd wanted it to. Writing fiction was it. The missing piece of the puzzle.
But the real change came the day my husband and I decided to quit our well-paying corporate jobs in the Australian banking industry and move to Canada. So many tears were shed, and I miss my family like crazy even now. But we LOVE living in Toronto. I decided not to go back to my old career, and instead worked part-time at MAC Cosmetics while I wrote. When that first contract turned into several more, I eventually made the leap to writing full time. That change probably wouldn't have occurred so quickly if we hadn't moved overseas, and I'm grateful every day for that opportunity.
But writing isn't everything
As much as I love my job (and I truly, truly do) work can't be everything. I also love to play boardgames, card games and video games with my husband. Yep, I'm a not-so-secret nerd. Current favourites include: Lords of Waterdeep and Pandemic (boardgames), Magic The Gathering (card game), and Resident Evil 4 and BioShock (video games).
I'm an avid reader, newbie garment sewist and I enjoy making a mess in the kitchen. I love nothing more than finding an amazing restaurants, watching documentaries, continuing my search for the perfect flat white and hanging out with people who enrich my life. I love nothing more than a quiet morning spent with a hot drink in one hand and a book in the other.
my top tips for anyone who wants to "do the thing"
The thing. For me it was writing a book. For you...who knows? Maybe you want to get fit and run a 10k race, maybe you want to learn how to make the perfect macaron. Maybe you want to quit your job and move overseas and start a whole new career. That's a lot of change at once and it's hard, but I do reccomend it ;)
Whatever your "thing" is - big or small - you should absolutely do it. Carve out space in your life and give it a go. Will you be successful? Maybe. Maybe not. But a life spent wondering what might be is a life with a giant hole in it.
So, do The Thing. Here are my top tips to help you get there:
- Write The Thing down. What is your goal? Don't be vague. Specific goals will enable you to have a clearer vision and more easily track your success. Want to write a Book? Run a 10k? Make Adriano Zumbo weep with how amazing your macarons are? While you're at it, write down why you want to do The Thing.
- Carve out time in your schedule consistently. Don't wait for time to happen, and don't think that one day's effort will make you a success. You need to do The Thing and then keep doing The Thing over and over and over. If at that point you're sick of The Thing, then it's probably not the right Thing.
- Don't underestimate the value of short-term goals. Writing a book is a great goal, but it's long-term. Writing a hundred words doesn't sound like much, but see the previous point. All steps towards your goal are important and valuable, no matter how small.
- Find other people who also want to do The Thing. I know, the introvert in me also hates the stress of joining a new group. Do it anyway. It'll be worth it.
- Talk about The Thing with someone who supports you. Accountability is great, but sharing your passion is contagious. You might inspire someone to do their own Thing. Besides, you never know who might be able to help you with The Thing. People everywhere have secret talents.
- Make a promise to yourself that The Thing is worth it. The best things we do in life are often the most difficult - completing our studies, having a family, creating something we care about. There will be points where you feel like you don't have it in you. That's totally normal. But I want you to promise yourself that The Thing is worth the struggle, it's worth the discomfort and it's worth the effort. If it's worth it, then you'll make those sacrifices.
- Make one more promise: that you'll believe you can do The Thing. The journey is so much more rewarding when you're not battling yourself at every step. This doesn't mean doubt won't creep in, because it will. Often. But doubt is commonly triggered by external factors (seeing someone else succeeding, receiving criticism, failing at a task) and belief is internal, and therefore it's not based on your success (because belief should come before success) and it doesn't require anyone else's input. Internal structures will always trump external reinforcement. So give yourself that foundation.
Good luck. I hope you do The Thing and that it changes your life.