For me, the love of reading began at an early age, largely thanks to my mother who taught me before I went to school. The story goes, I was sitting opposite my teacher in Primary One. She was reading the paper and I, being the curious sort, read it too. Except I read it from my desk, upside down. My teacher, thinking she would teach me a valuable lesson, asked me to read one of the articles to her. When that didn’t embarrass me or thwart me sufficiently, she then asked me to explain my understanding of what I’d just read. What she didn’t realise was this was exactly the kind of exercise my mother would give me. I revelled in such cross-examination! I’m not sure if my primary teacher was impressed or whether I had just marked myself as the class trouble maker. I suspect the latter.

A love of reading turned into a love of writing. I wanted to create worlds where I could escape and lose myself, take myself away from whatever was going on in my own world. I suppose looking back, I wanted to transform my reality. Pretend I was the heroine of an altogether different story.

My writing started as apologetic poetry,  mainly (again) to my mother, and then the words grew into short stories delving into the quagmire of my thoughts. I found I could write far more easily than I could express feelings verbally. For me, writing was an absolute necessity. I couldn’t function without writing. It was the only thing that helped me make sense of a life that was filled with the trauma of a violent and abusive home life.

After receiving an unconditional offer from Napier University to study a Bachelor of Arts in Publishing and Editing, I thought my course was set, but ‘life’ intervened and my path took a different route. I left school at 18 but it took me 5 years to get back to my studies and I was in my mid 20’s before I found myself working in a publishing house – initially in the dark arts of Marketing across a range of titles and then (hallelujah) as Deputy Editor of an International Publication.

Clearly, I had a few life lessons to learn before I set upon that road. It certainly wasn’t a straight path to where I am now. Much of my life had been spent in some sort of survival mode haze – my career was what drove me. It was years before I discovered my workaholic mindset was a coping mechanism.  I had no idea how lucky I was that I had a love of books and writing. It literally saved my life and my sanity!

I learned that if you want something bad enough, no matter what obstacles you have to overcome, you’ll get there. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  The most important part of that is, you’ve got to want it. So much of writing your own story is about just that. The drive to keep going. Perseverance!

The theme – the golden thread – that runs through all my writing  is Transformation and I am constantly in awe and inspired by the transformational stories of others. I am so passionate about the power writing has to heal, no matter how much pain or shame you are carrying (sometimes you’ve absorbed that story to such an extent you don’t even realise it’s not yours to carry). Writing with the guidance of The Butterfly Bureau can help you re-author your story.

Evie McRae is a professional member of the Australian Society of Authors. As a published author, writer/ghostwriter, she has been featured in a number of  publications both in Australia and the UK.  She is the  former Deputy Editor of Natural Health & Wellbeing, though more recently she was the Ghostwriter for Internationally acclaimed Psychic Medium Peter Williams. His Memoir “Searching Spirit” officially launched on 18th August 2019 and already has a swathe of 5-star reviews.