(Vintage Post from 2015 before I became a published author)
It took leaving the teaching profession, to begin to believe I was a writer. But the honest truth is I was a writer at four and a half. I wrote four lines and I was rewarded with a golden sticker from the headmistress of my first school. The story was about a kettle. Since that day I have written stories on napkins, in little booklets, on school stationery, and on the computer.
Why didn’t a writing career happen to me before now?
The problem most writers have is that they are too embarrassed to give themselves that title. They worry that if they give themselves that title then they are either setting themselves up for ridicule or people think they are deluded.
I have been writing since I was young and it was my closest friend when I felt low or even happy. I can remember a day when I might not have read a book but I can’t remember a day when I didn’t write. Despite that I never thought myself deserving of the job title: writer.
Stupid really, I was called a computer programmer after just a year of university while after writing for more than forty years I didn’t think I still could call myself a writer. I became a teacher and a lecturer after a year of training too and thought I was an expert and yet when it came to writing… You’ve got the gist.
My message to all of you, who write with passion and fill all your free time writing, is that YOU ARE A WRITER, regardless of whether you make an earning from it.
You don’t need other people to rubber stamp ‘Writer’ on your forehead; you just need to believe in it yourself.
For the last year I have owned the title ‘Writer’ and have worked jolly hard at writing every day for most of the day. I have accepted that I am a writer because of the hours I put in. I never have writer’s block because I just fill the time with ‘nonsense writing’ if I had nothing to say. Writing, sense or nonsense, releases my ideas and soon I find myself back on track. My new passport will say writer after the word ‘Profession’.
My Moment of Crisis
On a Sunday I got a phone call from a friend who is a Head of a school to ask if I could help her out as one of her teacher’s was leaving abruptly due to family circumstances. I thought it wasn’t a bad way to earn money to support my writing. It was only going to be a short term post and I would only teach a day and a half each week.
I Got The Blues…
As soon I accepted I thought I had failed and gone back to being a teacher. For two days I have been going around saying now I am a teacher again and I didn’t even finish editing my book. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed being a teacher in the past and believe it to be an honourable profession, but writing has always been my main passion.
Everyone told me I was being foolish and I couldn’t explain why I felt bad.
Then The Penny Dropped
Four days on I have understood my ‘moods’. Today I realised what it was that upset me – I thought if I become a teacher, I would be confining myself to that role and would have taken a s step back from my dream because when I was teacher I lived and breathed being a teacher forsaking my family and everything else. I loved my role and I didn’t have time for anything else. Twenty four seven I used to think of my lessons
As soon as I realised I was going to be teaching from next week, I began to think of how and what I would teach and stopped editing my book. Teaching was moving into my mind space again. So easily, I was distracted from my main task of finishing the edit of my novel River Rule. I wondered if it was because teaching was going to pay my bills straight away.
Blue skies between the clouds
But today my mood has brightened because I’ve realised that all I had to do was to start my day with a single thought:
I am a writer
Magically my mood has lifted, and I’ve rushed downstairs to sit at my dining table to edit my book. If I was stacking shelves to support my writing, I doubt I would introduce myself as shelf stacker, no I would call myself a writer who is currently supporting myself by stacking shelves.
So changing my mind set has set me free and has brought me back on track with my writing. My new mantra is:
I am a writer and for the moment I teach for a day and a half to support my writing.
Now my ‘Self’ is not fighting with me.
Morale of My Babbles
Today I have learnt that I must believe with an absolute passion and with no doubt that I am writer, regardless of how I make my money.
To wake up every morning and only allow one thought to appear in my mind before my brain reacquaints itself with its surroundings and pointlessly runs through the previous day. And that thought is:
I am a writer first, last and foremost.
Incidentally my next thought is, “Where is my mug of tea?”