Before you agree with the voices of reason and common sense and sadly pack away your writerly ambitions, consider why you enjoy writing. How does this particular form of creative expression make you feel? Happy, energised and worthwhile? If so, perhaps we should be taking these feelings seriously and pick up a pen, switch on the computer…start now. Anything will do, you know. Just start with a monologue, a picture of a flower, the exploration of your dream or a letter to God. Start.
If we have something that pesters our dreams or drives us, secretly we will probably know all about it. There will indeed be times when writing is definitely the most worthwhile thing we can do, just now. It certainly feels a million times better than frustration and regret, wondering what we might have achieved if only we had had the courage to take that first step. It is never too late to begin, but there are times when it is simply easier to take the hint: Think how much energy it takes, to keep shoving our passions aside.
We don’t have to write our magnum opus all at once. We can come back to it, take it on little excursions as our next pet project. The best way to give your ideas room to breathe is to start small, and do at least a little writing every day. Decide to write for at least half an hour a day – about anything! – and soon, our doodles stretch themselves into something more substantial. Sketch out a few ideas, start with a few headings….be creative.
Call yourself a writer. Start to see yourself as one, and put that down on your passport application. Insert ‘writer’ as your occupation on the census, or on that application for a loan. Introduce yourself at parties and functions with, “I’m a writer” and you will start to feel a shift that makes it true. No-one is going to laugh in your face or say, “What, you? A writer?? I remember when you were just making it out of college. Your only ambition then was to get laid!” When you utter the words, “I am a writer” people will nod, look interested and ask you what you write about. Then, you can have an interesting conversation and maybe learn something that you will find useful. Saying, “I’m a writer” feels an awful lot better than, “I’m just a housewife” or “I’m unemployed”, don’t you think? (With apologies to all home makers, home economists and people looking for work.)
To be continued.