Welcome to the second author guest post reflecting on the year that was. In this post, the wonderful Wayne Tunks shares his accomplishments and his hope for 2024.
Wayne is an Australian writer, producer, radio host, acting coach, actor, passionate music lover, and someone I am proud to call my friend.
Writing is my safe space, my escape. It’s been that way since I was a child, though back then I didn’t quite know how to finish a project. It’s also my therapy. Which is why sometimes I write out my feelings. I guess this is why my first book was ‘Normal or Nothing Like It’, a collection of short stories about being 40 that certainly had a lot of me in it. My second book, ‘Electricity’, was a Young Adult supernatural tale that was pure escapism, fantasy to take my mind away from my problems. This year I finished my third book, ‘The Silence Before’, a ghost and horror story that probably was a combination of both escapism and therapy. You’ll have to wait to next year to read that.
I have often been called a prolific writer, I certainly was when I was exclusively writing theatre, which I did for many years. What started as one play a year, soon became multiple productions over a year. It was hard work, but I loved it. Since I have become a member of the web series community, their motto is, “Don’t wait, create’, and it truly has been my personal motto. I write, some stuff works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it is the process of writing that I enjoy the most.
Over the years things have changed in my life, even what I write, but the passion for writing has never disappeared. I must admit, personally it has not been a good year for me. Both of my parents are not well, and I have transitioned into being a full time carer for them, all while still working as a radio announcer and an acting coach. Through all of this, writing has still been so important and has been my release. I turn on my music and write away, laughing and crying along with my characters. Characters who are a part of me, parts that I love, that I loath, that I wish I could be in real life.
I began the year still writing ‘The Silence Before’, and always set myself a goal of writing at least a page every day, on the rare instance that I would miss it, it would accumulate to the next day. I know for many people that would be a nightmare, but for me, it works wonderfully. I am a sucker for a to-do list and an even bigger fan of a completed to-do list. During that period, I also wrote a feature film script, not sure what will happen with that one, but happy to have done it. Also, this year I wrote a play, which I am already adapting into a podcast that will be recorded in January. I’m not waiting, I’m just creating.
A wonderful thing I have done for many years, is write for my students. Before I was working in radio again, I was teaching four afternoons a week and had up to 11 classes, so there was always lots of short plays to write. During the year I have cut down to just one day and two classes. Less plays, but still enjoyable to create for them and do it with a quick turnaround. I truly feel like it expands my writer brain and gives me new perspectives. And the students have done so well this year with theatre and film competitions, it brings me joy to see them flourish and hear them deliver my words.
When I stopped making theatre, I moved into the web series world, and my next series, ‘Spook Siblings’ was released this year and has just started doing the festival circuit. Just in the past few months it has won some great awards at the Minnesota Web Fest, Baltimore Web Fest, and this past weekend won Best Pilot at the British Web Awards. I also headed to New Jersey and Minnesota for their festivals (winning a best actor for my short film, ‘Overcaterers Anonymous’ in Jersey). Heading to these festivals are honestly some of the biggest highlights of my life. Meeting like minded people and sharing a love for filmmaking is just awe inspiring. And with a lot of responsibilities back home, I packed a lot into my 17 days in the US.
And suddenly we are at the end of another year. I may not have the most successful writing career but I feel blessed that I get to create continually and that people who read or watch my work seem to enjoy it. So, I will continue creating. 2024 will see the release of my new book, a new fiction podcast and am going to create a new web series with my older students. Plus, have plans to start a new book in the New Year. One I am nervously excited to start. I won’t wait, I will continue to create. Merry Christmas.
End Guest Post
Thank you to Wayne for sharing and inspiring us all to create. Wayne has achieved so much this year, and we wish him all the best for next year. If you would like to check out his work, click on the links below.