Fear can be a bit of a dictator. It can march into your psyche like a well-trained army and take out your mojo with military precision.  You need an army of your own to fight back. My fellow writers and the support networks of Writers Centres have become that for me: My First Battalion.

I first joined the Queensland Writers Centre with a completed manuscript in my shaking hands and the aim of learning more about writing craft and the publishing industry. Friends I made there recommended the Australian Writers’ Centre, and course presenters there recommended the Australian Society of Authors – guiding lights abound. But I have gained so much more than guidance. The friendships and connections I have made have transformed my writing journey in ways I had never imagined. For one, I learned that I am not the only one with shaking hands. Creatives are bound by a common thread of vulnerability.

When you write, little bits of you fall onto the page. Putting your work, and yourself out there, is hard.

So much easier to hide under the bed.

Enter the Lighthouse. An invitation to be a part of a multi-genre anthology of short stories – a call to arms if you will. I stuttered for a bit, coughed and sneezed (it’s dusty under the bed). Could I do that? Would my story be good enough? On this journey I learned that marching forward with your ‘unit’ tucked around you feels safe, and when you feel that wave of fear (or tsunami of self-doubt), you press on. For the team.

I am so proud to be a part of Lighthouse – An Anthology and I know people will love to read it. The stories are fabulous. Each story delves into relationships in one way or another, with each writer’s unique perspective. From a reader’s perspective, the mix of genres is refreshing. It has broadened my focus and brought new loves to my life – things I wouldn’t normally have read.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to line up beside these fantastic writers, to upskill in both creative and practical ways, and mostly to learn that I could do it. If you will forgive me my cheesy lighthouse metaphors, it really has shown me the way.

There is a word you hear bandied about in talk of organisations like Writers’ Centres: Network. In the business sense this translates as quantifiable advantages—things like experts on tap and reciprocal relationships. In a less-measurable but equally important way, it refers to the friends you make, connections and community. Being a member of a Writers’ Centre is all of those things, but it’s reach extends to so much more than just ‘who you know’. It is more than just a network. It feels to me now like a different kind of net—a safety net—woven from like minds and generosity of spirit. Yep, my own little army. Take that, fear!

Words connect us, guide us, and keep us safe. Writers Centres, and the friendships we find in them, are the lighthouses that draw us into their light.

Grab your copy of Lighthouse here: https://lorikeetink.com/lighthouse