Today marks the start of a new adventure…although I may not even leave the house!
09:20 on a rainy Friday morning, a couple of weeks from the start of summer. Nothing special, except I have the day off – the first in what should be a regular series of being off on Fridays. After coming back from my sabbatical, during which I did so much, I decided that I just couldn’t just go back to exactly what I had been doing before, five days a week. I’d just fulfilled a few dreams and did activities I never thought I would do, and it gave me a taste for more. I’d always wanted to see the Northern Lights, so I got off my arse, booked up, took the opportunity and was rewarded by seeing one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen. Japan had just been a distant place in another world; now I’ve been there, got the fridge magnet and conquered the sights alone. I dreamed of surfing big waves in exotic locations; riding the smallest of rollers on a deserted beach on a cold morning may not count for much, but it at least I’d gone a small way towards this. The pattern was there: want, go, got.
Which brings me to one of my biggest ambitions: to become a writer. I’ve blogged about my ambitions that I’d written down when I was 15, and this was one of them. I had a good try for a while a year or two back, and got a few short stories published online, but then never made an effort to continue. There was always something that got in the way to give me an excuse not to make time for it. It was now time for me to really think about just how serious I was about this ambition. Did I really want it? Was I prepared to work for it? Did I understand that the chances of succeeding to make a career from it were close to zero? Did I have the discipline? Was I good enough? Did I know what I was going to write about? Could I accept the failure?
I don’t have all the answers to the above. But there was one thing that swung it for me: the feedback received from my blog posts here.
I won’t pretend that I’m a brilliant writer. I know that some of the good feedback I’ve had about particular posts may have been eggagerated when a person has told me they’d read it, and that maybe the content has probably been more exciting than the writing. But the comments from all sorts of people – including those from people I’d never even met – all reminded me why I love to write: to produce something people actually enjoy reading.
The results can be vastly rewarding, but I have to say that I rarely enjoy the actual writing process. Blogging is usually fun, and the style I’ve written the posts in recently is quite easy to write, as it’s all based on personal experience. Writing a fictional story, on the other hand, requires a lot more skill, thought and patience. I’ve started stories and then got fed up, abandoning them like a cute puppy that turned into an ugly dog I no longer wanted to play with. However, the ones I’ve finished and polished I’m really proud of, especially the ones that make it through a selection process and actually got published somewhere. So it’s a case of knowing it’s hard work, but also knowing it’s worth it in the end if you just stick at it.
So I made a decision to work four days a week from now, and made a vow to myself to spend the fifth day writing. I was able to do this with a change of role offered to me at work (and a different challenge) and a pay cut in exchange for more holiday. I’m very lucky to be able to do this, but I’ve realised now that if you can live comfortably, then there’s more to life than working to earn money, so why not effectively spend a bit to live a bit? My sabbatical cost me thousands in lost earnings, let alone expenses, but what would have I done with the money? Sure, I could have bought a nice flash car instead and driven it around for a few years, but compare that with the experiences I’ve had on my trips; it wouldn’t even come close.
Right, it’s about time I stopped pretending I’m writing when all I’m doing is blogging my thoughts. I will still keep this blog and I’ll try to keep it exciting, but I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Today could be the start of a road to success. Maybe I’ll reach Failure City first…but at least I’d have given it a shot.