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I can’t believe this weekend happened. I just can’t.

A year ago, my life was so different. So different. The people I hung out with were incredible, but the city I was in was not for me. The job I was doing was no longer for me. I was only just starting to think about the reality of changing my life, of moving to Scotland, of focusing on my writing.

And here I am, a year later. I have a dissertation that will eventually turn into a novel, a short story project that I’m having a blast with, and the kind of nerdy, passionate friends any writer would be lucky to have. I live in a city that I’ve fallen in love with with teenage intensity.

And I read at the Book Festival.

I was so nervous, y’all. I knew maybe 1/3 – 1/2 of the crowd, I knew they were there because they were excited for me and proud of me and wanted to support me, and I was still terrified. I was wearing a dress I felt confident in, my red lipstick of power and glory, and shoes  probably wouldn’t fall in. And I was shaking like mad. I was recovering from a sore throat, my voice sounded strange in my own ears, and I thought for sure my hands would be shaking so much I’d drop my notebook on the way to the podium.

But I didn’t. I walked over like I knew what I was doing (in my head I was Meryl Streep playing the part of a woman comfortable speaking in front of crowds) and I introduced myself and I read my stories. And I only screwed up once! Well, maybe twice. But still! I call that success.

The biggest gift of all of this is, of course, the confidence boost. The feeling that the voice that says Yes, I’m good at this. Yes, I can do this, is right and that I’ll make it work. Because this can’t be where I end. I won’t let it be. Story Shop was an honour, but it can’t be the biggest one I ever get. I want it to be a jumping off point.

So I’ll make it happen. I don’t know how, or what I’ll have to do, but I’m going to make it happen.