For Bribie Island State High School teacher Ben Hobson, however, that dream became a reality this year.
“It was probably one of the weirdest feelings I’ve had in my life, I was trying to explain to someone the other day, you write in sort of a vacuum for eight years and no-one wants to hear from you, and you get these blank rejection slips and it never goes the way you dream it could go, and then all of a sudden you get this call from a publisher who says that they want to publish your book and it’s just surreal, it’s just an absolutely surreal feeling.
“It’s really weird to me that people have read it now and people cry sometimes when they read it and I still feel that it’s just amazing.”
Hobson’s book To Become a Whale is his fifth and came out in June.
It tells the story of a young boy coming to terms with his mother's recent death, and learning to live with a father intent on making a man of him as quickly as possible.
Set against southern Queensland's Tangalooma whaling station in '60s Australia, the novel is a beautiful tale of a gentle young soul trying to make sense of the cruelty of whaling and the complexities of male relationships in a bygone era.
While lucky enough to have a ‘kind and supportive’ father of his own, Hobson says the book is set in a time when where men weren’t really given a vocabulary to admit love or weakness.
“The father and son relationship was all about me exploring both my relationship with my father but also my relationship to my kids,” Hobson says.
“I have two little boys and I often think about the impact that my words can have on them.
“I think maybe nowadays, and especially back then, the weight of words and the way that you speak to one another can be quite violent and emotionally charged and just the impact that can have on a kid’s heart.
“I think that needs to be talked about more.”
A Melbourne boy originally, Hobson moved to Brisbane in the mid-2000s to be with his now wife and while studying a bachelor of music and a graduate diploma in education, decided to have a crack at writing.
“I thought I’d always loved reading so I thought I’d pick up a pen, or a laptop and try my hand at it.”
Clearly a talent on the rise, Hobson is mindful that he has much still to learn, but enjoys serving as a role model to encourage students to follow their dreams.
“A few students know I’m an author and a few have looked me up on ‘Good Read’ and were delighted to tell me that my book has a higher rating than the Bible, apparently (laughs), so... they thought that was pretty impressive.”
Reviewers have been gushing in their praise, describing To Become a Whale as, ‘a great study in masculinity’ and ‘sublimely and sensitively written, this book is an impressive debut’.
And while it’s impossible to know what the future will hold, Hobson says he’s content with how life is panning out at the moment.
“There’s points when I have to let teaching take over for a little bit, ... but there’s also times when I can let the writing breathe a little bit.
“I love both of them, so I don’t know what the future holds, but right now I’m quite happy.”