Why I’m quitting writing

I texted my friend, today.

Why do I get so much pleasure out of cooking corned beef? No reply required.

My apologies if you’re vegan or vego.


Corned beef!

I use Stephanie Alexander’s recipe.

I love poking the cloves down into the onions.

Chopping the carrots, real rough.

And the celery.

Tossing in the peppercorns.

Dried bay leaves from my neighbour’s tree.

Slowly, slowly, the kitchen fills with the aroma.

A country kitchen.

I feel like Ned Kelly’s mum. I bet she cooked like this. Chop, chop, into the pot. Wiping her hands on her apron. No muckin’ around.

Hearty food. Comfort food. Food for a chilly Sunday.


It’s the little things.

Well, it is for me.

These lazy Sundays when I never want the day to end.

Himself painting the bedroom. Me cooking, reading, knitting, popping outside once in a while to check on a geranium, a basil plant or the oak I planted in the fairy garden.


I opened a new instagram account this week. Girl and Duck Presents. @girlandduckpresents

Basically, it’s a collection of quotes from my online course, Scribbles, my video tutorials, Q and Q Friday, and my creative writing book, See Me Jump.


This is the quote I posted today — along with a little spiel about occasionally giving yourself permission to step back from your dreams and goals and just live.

I realise, of course, that most of the quotes are things I need to hear, too.

That’s the thing about being wise. The wise one often needs to heed their own advice…

For the past couple of years I’ve been thinking about quitting writing. ‘Retiring’ is a stoopid word and a ghastly concept and you’ll never hear me use it.

Thanks to Himself for this pic. Taken yesterday on the back roads of Nagambie, VIC.

But, quitting?

Don’t like that either.

The thing is though, I’m tired. Tired of the whole damn thing. Tired of the constant striving.


I’m changing direction.

Beautiful old wine cellars. Tahbilk Estate.

A while ago (in a pub in Melbourne), I told a close colleague (an extremely successful author) of my plans to quit writing at the end of 2019.

She looked at me askance. ‘But we don’t STOP!’ she cried. ‘We just, well, we just keep going!’

She probably thought I was shickered.


My energy for writing children’s novels has dried up.

I feel called in other directions.

The dreams I was chasing twenty years ago are not the dreams I’m chasing now.

I’ve known this for ages.


Which is why I haven’t signed up for another series. I cannot, will not, sign my life away again.

Making the decision to quit has been one of the most empowering decisions I’ve made in a long time.


Don’t get me wrong.

I still adore my characters!

Tan Callahan, Danny Best, Tensy Farlow,  Angus Jack, Matilda and Iris Valentine, Norman, Clarrie, Blue, Pepi. Even Haggis McGregor. I’ve built an entire world of loveable, quirky characters over the past twenty years. These books and characters live in my heart. They are part of my being, my soul, my reality.


Nowadays I feel called in new directions.

To art.

And teaching.

Coaching. Nurturing. Helping other creatives on their journey has become a driving passion.

Gardening, sustainability, permaculture, travel.

A more spirit-centred life. However that may look.

I have of late walked the Path of the Priestess. I have discovered that while it is a fascinating, rich and honourable path, and has taught me countless lessons I will carry for life, it’s not the path for me. Not right now, anyway.

I’m too practical.

Or flighty.

Or something.

Either way, here’s the thing.

Since I decided to quit writing, I’ve started to enjoy writing again.


I’m about to write the eighth and final Truly Tan and I’m itching to get started. Determined to make it the best yet.

I’ve recently submitted the fourth and final Danny Best, too, and we’re already working on the cover.

I’m also playing with a new picture book and have another one due for release soon.


In the meantime…

I’ve a half-written gothic novel. Which I may or may not finish. It all depends. I know one thing for sure. I’ll never sign a contract for it. Not until it’s finished.

If it’s ever finished.

Now that I’ve quit writing, I have an idea for another book, too.

A nonfiction book for adults.

A book that will take me on a long journey both physically (UK, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland) and spiritually.

I’m looking forward to this next adventure. To pursuing a shiny, new dream; a dream that had to fight for attention, priority, recognition and, finally, for respect.


So, what is this post all about?

I guess it’s about taking charge of your own destiny.

It’s about recognising when your dreams have become a burden.

It’s about giving yourself permission to change direction. Sometimes in dramatic and scary ways.

But most of all this post is about taking a breath.

And listening to your heart.

Thank you, dear reader, for listening to mine. xo

Jen Signature_web

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