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30 June 2011

Guest post and competition: Nicole Murphy

One of the themes I've been running with in my life lately recently is change and “fuck plan b”. The fuck plan b phrase comes from something Amanda Palmer (one of my inspirational idols) tweeted at a muso about his music career. I've taken it on as my new motto and my twitter friends and I have had a lot of conversations about fuck plan b, life changes and pursuing dreams. Nicole Murphy, a wonderful writer from Australia, was to write a guest post for Book Bites as part of her blog tour for the release of Rogue Gadda and this is what Nicole had to say about pursuing dreams:

Fuck Plan B

This is one of the scariest things to consider – and one of the most liberating. We’ve all got dreams – something that we wanted to achieve. And for any of you saying “I don’t” – think back to when you were a teenager. What were you passionate about? I bet it still gives you a thrill, right?

So yes, we’ve all got something we WANT to do with our lives. The problem is, society is really good as telling us it’s not possible. You need to have a job. You’ve got to have lots of money. Security. You have to have x by this age, y by this.

I fell into the trap. I knew in high school that I wanted to do something creative. I had some music lessons. I did art up to year ten. I studied drama in year eleven and twelve. I did amateur theatre productions. But the thing I loved most of all was writing.

I made some attempts to live a creative life – I auditioned for the drama course at University of Western Sydney. But I let all the (well-intentioned) folks telling me that I needed a fall-back position to influence me and so when I left year twelve, I went to teacher’s college.

The problem with a fall-back position is that you’ll fall back to it. I did. I dabbled in writing from time to time, but I wasn’t serious about it. I certainly wasn’t acting any more. All my creativity, my passion, went into teaching.

I lasted at teaching for a bit over nine years, until I had a mini-breakdown. When that happened, I’d been lucky enough to meet and marry my husband who wants me to be happy. He asked if I could do anything in the world, what would it be and I had one answer – writing.

So I started to pursue it. Over time, my confidence in myself waned and I found other ways to use the skills I was developing by becoming a journalist, but now that I’d let the dream have some air to breathe it wouldn’t let go of me.

Finally, in 2007, came the crunch time. On the one hand, it had become clear that I was never going to be more than an average journalist – I didn’t have the guts to go for the hard stories – and I wasn’t satisfied with that.

On the other hand, I was struck by a sudden, intense vision. I saw myself on my death bed, thinking to myself “maybe I would have been published if I’d just tried harder…”

It chilled me, in a way few things have, and I swore that if I got to the end of my life and I wasn’t published, it WASN’T going to be because I didn’t try. So with hubby’s support, when I left journalism I got a part-time job at a supermarket so I could focus all my creativity and energy on my writing.

That was February, 2008. History now shows that I sold the Dream of Asarlai trilogy in July 2009 and here we are, two years later, with the third book being released.

Is fucking Plan B and running with the dream an easy thing to do? No. The worthwhile things aren’t easy. People around you won’t understand. You’ll have to go without for a while and make a whole range of sacrifices. But here’s the thing – the happiness you gain from knowing that you’re doing what you want with your life will make up for most of that. And the downs don’t last forever.

Dreams do come true, but not without a whole lotta work and effort. And there’s no reason you can’t start that work today – except for fear.

Giveaway question – To win a copy of Rogue Gadda tell me, what’s your Plan A?

Please provide your email with your answer so Nicole can contact the winner!

Terms of the giveaway:
The winner is decided based solely on the response Nicole chooses.
The winner will be contacted by email.
This giveaway is open internationally.
The give away ends at 12pm on the 5th of July, 2011, Australian EST. 

Note: The giveaway is now officially closed!

Here is a sneak peak of Rogue Gadda.

She took a deep breath and then poured the potion over the amulet, onto her chest. It was jumping into a fire – instantaneous agony that drew a scream of horror from her throat.

She closed her eyes but couldn’t avoid the stench of burning flesh. She’d erred. Despite all her consideration and planning, she’d made the wrong choice. This wasn’t going to save her.

It was going to kill her.

The Dream of Asarlai trilogy by Nicole Murphy:


Edie said...

Sorry I went a bit random with the first comment, my dream job would be a physical bookshop cum e-publisher. Heh

Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Edie

I had a dream of one day owning a combined bookstore/coffee shop, where you could read the books without buying.

Not that practical, but I LOVED the idea of a room full of people reading while they ate :)

obsidiantears83 said...

I love it Edie! Would you do both at the same time, or one or the other?

Oh, I'll do you one better Nicole! My Plan A.2 (Archaeology is Plan A, but this is my other dream, like a back up Plan A?) is to own a store front with a bookshop, cafe with wifi for the writers and uni students ($10 min meal order of course, because they can sit there for ever), an art gallery and studio - studio for myself and visiting artists can hire space, and an alternative store full of hippie/goth clothes, incense, pretty household wares and other bohemian stuff. The books would have a Spec Fic leaning, and I would stock new, used and hard to find books :) This of course, is more of a daydream rather than a planned reality. I have no head for numbers and the though of taking a business course makes my head ache. So archaeology it is!! It is more ambitious and I have to start from the bottom up, even with a degree behind me, but maybe I can get a job in a book shop or cafe to keep me in books until I can go back to uni and do post grad :D

practimom said...

i guess my plan was just to go to college, get a good job, get married and have a family. i have managed the last two, almost finished the first which will hopefulle lead to the second. My dream job would to be a orthopaedic trainer for a major league football team (i was a student trainer in high school...loved it)!

Ariella Adler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole Murphy said...

Jacq - that is one HELL of a dream! It sounds an incredible place - I hope you do manage to make it happen, so I can come along to visit :)

Practimom - I hope that I haven't made it sound like I'm dissing the idea of Plan A being a wife, mother and so on. If that's your Plan A and you've made it happen, go you! Congrats. And Congrats on continuing the study - I hope that part of Plan A works for you too. But just the fact you're working towards it must be incredibly fulfilling.

Sapphired Dragon said...

LIke Jacq, I have a couple of plan A's. I have always been a jack of all trades mast of none with a number of different passons and I find as i get older even my plan As have changed a little.

Plan A1 is to be recording artist. Plan A2 which I am currently following is/was to become more involved in sports admin and sports coaching . I now work as as a natinal fitness administrator for a national fitness chain,I am a netball coach for a local club and trainee group fitness instructor.

I am lately finding though that I have a plan A3 - to settle down and have kids with my partner and continue with reading and book blogging and it is this plan I am intending to run with next.

Sorry for the long ramble but I have always been a big believer in fuck plan b, following your dream and creating your own reality.

My email is

Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Sapphired Dragon!

Thanks for posting. It can be kinda easy to think that Plan A is just one thing when you're right - we're complex people and we can have lots of Plan As.

I'll have to think on what some of my other Plan As are, so I don't lose track of everything I can be.

Edie said...

Nicole - I think we all dream about the bookshop idea.
J - It would be both, you would be able to get the ebook or the POD in the shop of course. It a dream, I want the best of both worlds. LOL

Gspinn said...

My Plan A is to work as a social worker with children experiencing gender identity disorder. The agency I would want to work for related to Plan A is the Boston Children's Hospital. I am working in a obscurely related field doing social work, but am working towards plan A.

obsidiantears83 said...

Note: The giveaway is now officially closed!

Good luck ladies!

Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Gspinn

Congrats on the wonderful Plan A you've got - gender identity is definitely an issue and I hope you manage to get into the field and do good things.

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