On Sunday, a couple of days ago, I decided at last to try and make my living as a writer. It’s only taken me 46 years to make the decision.
All my life I have loved creative writing. At school my favourite subject was English Language, closely followed by English Literature. I relished each new homework assignment, racing home to get started. I would work with my dictionary by my side, looking up new words, or new meanings for old words and building them into my work.
Even then, I wanted a job that involved writing but the only one that my limited research came up with was that of journalist. I don’t remember being actively discouraged to pursue this ambition, but I was certainly not encouraged or supported in any way.
My teachers and parents guided me through a series of sensible subject choices at both “O” and “A” level, and eventually into a career in Nursing.
I moved from Nursing into Public Health and finally into the Pharmaceutical Industry and that is where I am now. It’s not where I want to be though. I want to be writing.
I have both enjoyed and at times excelled in activities that involved writing, throughout my career. I believe that I write better that I speak. I have published. In the 1970’s a Case Study I wrote was deemed so good by my tutor that she encouraged me to publish it in the Nursing Times. When I worked in Public Health I published a Research Paper in a scientific journal.
It wasn’t enough though. I wanted to write fiction. I wanted to write a book.
My first real opportunity to do this came a few years ago when, following a redundancy, I was able to finance myself through a four-year career break.
During this time I started my first novel, joined a Writers Group then abandoned my first novel and started another. I finished it in May this year and am currently editing it with the support of a wonderful friend and fellow writer.
But still it wasn’t enough. I wanted to write all the time. I wanted it to be my job.
My partner and I sometimes reflect on what our children have done with their lives and have reached the conclusion that people are much more likely to be successful and happy if they are allowed to follow their passions. Our youngest son took an, uncomfortably for us, unconventional route towards his chosen career as a chef. He is now happier and more successful, however you define it, than many people we know. We have questioned whether we have followed our own passions or not, and how different our lives might have been if we had.
I know I have not followed mine and it makes me a little sad sometimes.
On Sunday I went to a Singing Workshop and we worked on a song called “Dare” by Gary Barlow. Our choir director explained how important the lyrics in the song were to her as they captured the tough decisions and choices she’d had to make, and the risks she had taken, when she gave up her office job to build a new career in music, her passion.
I came home that day and decided I am going to do it. I am going to take that step at long last and try to build a career as a writer. I will find a way.
On Monday I signed up for a Creative Writing Course with focus on earning money through writing.
Today, Tuesday , I started this blog, apparently every writer should have one so here goes…………….