'What do you want to be when you leave school?'
And, my answer was this:
'Erm ... a writer.'
Someone sitting next to me said 'What, that's it? That's a bit boring, isn't it?'
'Mmmmbllbmbll.' I said. (I know. I'll give you a moment to cringe.)
Anyway, reality soon hit when I left college and realised a collection of incomplete story ideas on a Word document were not, in fact, enough to pay for our upcoming wedding (or, you know, enough for rent and food and Grown Up Things). Over the years I have occasionally considered actually going for it. Then I would do the research, and come to the conclusion that writing was a scary job for people who could handle all kinds of harsh criticism. I was as soft as a slush puppy, and would melt into nothingness if people were mean to me.
So I didn't ever do it.
In fact I stopped writing altogether for a couple of years. No journals, no nothing. Nothing, after a lifetime of always writing, right up to the stack of journals during my awkward pre-teen years (of which I tore out the pages and literally burned in my back garden in a moment of teenage drama). And I went from job to job to job without really settling on anything I liked, until I got into childcare, which I actually enjoyed. Then at some point, in a moment of deep stress, I began to write this blog.
Since then I haven't stopped. I write all the time. About 90% of it is no good, but for my mental health? It's amazing. Writing is like a brain massage to me. If I'm stressed, I write it down. It's like I'm smoothing out all the knots and tense places. I'm addicted to the point that I get a bit anxious and stressy if I can't find time to do it.
Twice now I've participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, more to see if I could do it than anything else. To my immense satisfaction I wrote a first draft of a novel last July, just over 50,000 words.
I even got to write 'the end'. For the first time ever.
And then people asked me about it. Suddenly I had to tell people about the story that I had grown from my own brain.
Honestly, I wasn't prepared for people actually asking me what I wrote. It turns out I frustrate people because I won't give details: I can't bring myself to tell people the genre or my main characters' name or anything. Why won't I give details?
Because part of me finds it cripplingly, painfully embarrassing that I put my all into something creative that might not be very good.
There you go. I said it. I'm a 'keep it light' person. I make breezy jokes at inappropriate times. To admit that I wanted to do something really, really badly and then did it is one thing: to have people actually know about the thing is another.
But you know what? That's crap. That is a rubbish part of myself that I don't like. Here's a life hint: don't be like me. Be earnest. The world is much better for people who whole-heartedly pour themselves into creative things and then share those things with the world.
In the meantime maybe I'll learn to let my guard down a bit more.
After I've finished the second draft. Obviously. I'm only willing to go so far.
Now you know it has a prologue! Argh.
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