Today I started my new job – as a full time writer. Instead of fitting in my writing and editing, plotting and promotion into my Writing Wednesdays, and the evenings and weekends, it’s now my day job. No longer do I need to haul myself out of bed, put on vaguely presentable clothes and go to the local county council offices, where I have worked for the last eight and a half years.
I can write in my pyjamas, I can have Radio 1 or Classic FM accompanying me, I can spend more time staring out of the window at the back garden, currently the purple and yellow of Lilac and Laburnum, and think about how best to construct the next scene, or whether a character is working in the role I’ve given them.
This has been my dream for almost ten years, ever since I decided I was going to write a novel – because by that point writing had become more than just a hobby, it was something I needed to do. Part of me never thought I’d see this day, that it would always be a magical, unreachable wish, and now that it’s here I’m excited and daunted, and I also feel a little guilty.
I am being paid to make up stories: to sit in my office at home surrounded by books, with photos of Ross-Aidan-Turner-Poldark on my wall, a figure of Beast from the recent Beauty and the Beast film cheering me on from my desk, and the sparkle of my lava lamp. Coffee, chocolate biscuits and fruit are a staircase away, ready to fuel me while I create new worlds, heroines and heroes.
And then, at the end, I am rewarded with my words being turned into a book with a beautifully designed cover and, in the case of the paperback, end-matter and riffling pages, that people will read and enjoy and talk to me about. It feels naughty; I keep wondering what the catch is.
I also wonder if I can do it. Am I destined to fail, to suddenly lose my productivity or get crippling writer’s block now the days stretch ahead of me? Will I become a mumbling hermit, so unused to human interaction that I forget how to be sociable and develop a fear of leaving the house? Will my sales dry up, forcing me to look for a new “day job” in six months’ time? I’m sure everyone who has made this leap has felt this way; I know I’m not alone.
Also, as my friends and family have been reminding me, I have worked towards this day for nearly ten years, through rejections and close calls before the magic of my book deal, then late night copy edits to meet deadlines, and many many days at the council when I wished so badly that I was at home finishing a chapter, turning the ideas into paragraphs and pages.
Well, now that’s what I do. This is my job. I have been given the chance to do what I love for a living, to turn that long-imagined daydream into reality, and I’m going to make the most of it. Have you ever fulfilled a dream? Was it scary as well as blissful? I’d love to hear your experiences.