Ever since I can remember, I’ve been making up stories. First, my Barbies played them out. Then, I started to write them down. I must have been about 8 when I put together a collection of short original “fairy tales” (with actual fairies in them, if I recall correctly!) I had it Cerlox-bound and gave it to my mum for Mother’s Day or her birthday. My dad even made a couple of illustrations for that very first edition of Gloria’s works.
Many other stories followed, most of them written long-hand on old school notebooks. I’m not sure what drove me to it. Maybe I just loved books and reading and stories so much because my dad read to me every night since I was a baby. It might have just seemed natural for me to want to create those very things that brought me so much joy.
I must have been about 12 when I decided that I must be an author when I grew up, that there was nothing else in the world I was meant to be.
Of course, a lot of stuff happened in the over two decades since that momentous epiphany. Writing school does figure in there somewhere, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. But, by the time I left university, I decided that I needed to get a regular job with regular pay ASAP. That eventually led to eight years in corporate communications, where I have been fortunate enough to… well… basically WRITE for a living.
Except… Writing speeches, corporate documents, news releases and communications plans was hardly the kind of writing I had in mind when I was eight or 12 or 20…. But I’m good at it. And it’s paid the bills, which was a big thing for a little while.
All along, I’ve kept writing fiction on the side. Kept polishing, researching and writing some more. About five years ago, I finally started researching how to get said writings out into the world. I was petrified with fear. The whole querying and wooing of an agent and the horde of what-ifs stemming from that very first query sent out into the world… Scary stuff.
But, most importantly, serious stuff. And not just the querying. The writing. Taking writing fiction as seriously as I’ve had to take corporate writing all these years. Giving it the effort and the time and the dedication it deserves. Because, no matter what some people [who may or may not need only two hours of sleep a day] say, having a full-time job and becoming a decent fiction writer on the side? Not very likely. Not when your day job already involves hours at a computer and when there are also other commitments taking up time and energy (family, exercise, friends and, yeah, sleep).
And of all those commitments, which is the one that takes up the most hours and the most energy?
The full-time day job.
But what is one to do? One’s gotta eat and have shelter and clothing and…
Yes. I fully admit it: There is something to be said for the stability of knowing you’ll have a pay cheque every other week.
The thing is: That regular comfy pay cheque? It comes with a price tag. Many people are happy to pay it, or, even better, they don’t see it as a price tag at all. And quite frankly, I envy those people. I have a perfectly good job many folks would kill to have.
But I’m not happy.
Because the most hours of my week, the best hours of my days are wasted doing something that brings me no joy or satisfaction. Doing something that, personally, I couldn’t care less about. And, most importantly, those hours, those days are not spent doing what I should be doing–that is to say: honing and perfecting my own writing. And finding a way to make it pay.
Now, when I say “make it pay,” I don’t mean I have delusions of becoming a best-selling author. Not that it wouldn’t be cool or anything. But I know the odds are tough. And that’s not what my dream is anyway. My dream is simply to be published and be able to make an ok living from my own writing–not from writing speeches for other people, or making sure annual reports are written in English and not in corporate mumbojumbo.
That’s why, a few weeks ago, Wonderful Husband and I sat down to do some math and we came to a decision that has me both elated and terrified. A decision that will allow me the time and dedication to pursue a serious, long-overdue career in fiction writing.
The frightening thing is, I am fully aware that there are no guarantees that what I’ve written will find a home. But there is only one way to make my writing the best I possibly can. And only one way to seriously focus on researching the market and agents and everything else in the biz. And that’s not going to happen while I eat my lunch, or in between loads of laundry. And, let’s face it, when you have a job that drains the soul out of you, there isn’t much in the way of motivation once you finally drag your sorry skeleton home at the end of the day.
And so, it gives me great–nay, GREAT!–pleasure to announce to the world that I will be quitting my decent and regular paying job by the end of the year. It’s probably about the scariest, stupidest and bravest thing I’ve done in my life. But if I’m ever going to do it, now is the time.
I cannot even worry about failing right now. I just have to try.
I’m starting this blog to keep myself motivated, to remind myself not to lose heart. And to keep in the loop all the friends and family who are cheering for me from the sidelines (hi dad! hi mum!).