There are some people in life who call themselves writers, though not many of them seem to produce anything. Everyone seems to have a book in them, but really they are just romanticising the idea of being a writer. Being a writer seems to be something special, I mean it is, but most people do not know how hard it is to earn that title. And I’m not talking about the actual writing.
From an early age, I like creating stories. It comes naturally to me. I don’t know how, and when looking at both sides of my family, no one else does either. I seem to have sprouted out of nowhere (I’m so totally my parents’ child though). I grew up an only child and also turned out to be a loner too. So in combination with having a somewhat decent writing ability as well, I guess I gravitated towards expressing my stories in words and not another artform.
The ultimate end goal of me self-publishing my words is to create a steady income stream that allows me to write full time. Until then, it’s hospitality work and eustress that pushes me to write around the edges of my life. This means that I forgo other things such as socialising and enjoying my time off with whatever normal people do with their time.
I think I am very fortunate that my hobby of writing is pretty much free or low cost in terms of materials needed to produce anything. But that doesn’t mean its easy. A year ago I was unstoppable in terms of writing. I could produce one to two thousand words a day and then bam! I hit burnout and everything stopped. I had all this free time, tones of irritability and a bucket of frustration at myself. I was doing so well, what happened? I had many unfinished manuscripts, knew the order of scenes, but wat r werds? I literally couldn’t spell properly for months. My facebook chat logs were an embarrassment. You’d think I never graduated primary school.
My brain and body were tied together and while the body was capable, the brain was done. No words from me. Good thing I had a job to occupy my time and give me money or I’d be screwed. I’m not a freelancer because I don’t really want to work with people and I want to spend all my time writing for myself. I’m not going to push out a ton of stories by writing other people’s ones. Do it yourself. Make time or fail.
Twelve years ago I graduated high school. Coming from a rural area there was not much emphasis on the creative as a means of income (apart from being a high school art teacher). I wanted to write stories and there wasn’t really much out there to help me do it. I had even gone to my guidance counsellor to help me get a real job.
But look at me now. I’m living in Scotland when I thought I’d never leave Australia. I had picked one of the more difficult life choices a person could make. The arts fields are always difficult to succeed in, let alone make money. But I’m slowing pushing out stories and I know it’s only a matter of time before I gain traction.
I think back to when I first finished school, I wonder how many people thought that I wouldn’t or couldn’t achieve my dreams. I also think about the life journeys my classmates (the ones I have kept track of) have made in the decade since. Some have become what they wanted, while others haven’t had their dreams materialise. Then there are those who have changed paths and become something completely different. But all are within the realm of real jobs and nothing that seems overly difficult.
The more I think about it, the more I can’t believe I’ve made it so far. I amaze myself. What would my life be if I never went to the counselor’s office or chosen to take a different path? Out of all the paths people could choose, I’m making headway in one that heads along a difficult trail.