The world of words is a scary place when laid on a platter for everyone to feast upon. Not only that, it’s unglamorous, lonely, and equates to a low level of pay for the rate of hours put in. Too much coffee is consumed, marriages end in divorce, and your kids end up in a strange haze of detesting you as they honestly sing your praises.
Sitting here at my desk, late at night, a single kind of co-parent—the kids are in bed and I’ve just hit the 31 thousand word limit I’ve set for myself this month—I’m contemplating the crossroads.
I’m surrounded in a chaos of books, strewn papers and incense; I love what I see. There’s a world map angled on the wall, two cats curled by the fire, and the candle light flickers as I write. For two months I have confined myself to my desk, tasting for the first time the life of an uninterrupted writer. It is bliss.
In around 56 hours that two month bliss will abruptly end. I am due to return to the mundane; and although I can afford to live off my writing alone, I choose for the moment, to return. I’ve never been good with uncertainty—growing up in poverty has that effect—but really, if I’m truly honest, it’s only in the last 2 weeks, you see, that I’ve accepted that I am what you call a writer.
For 3 years I have been a paid writer, and technically if you count my first royalties cheque from Amazon, that takes me back 5 years. But it’s only now that I can accept it as truth. And I ask, why is that?
At the new age of 40, maybe I’m having a midlife crisis. Or maybe I’ve just realised that if I’m on a good wicket, judging by maternal genetics, I’m already half way through my ‘young’ life. The fact that I’ve only realised that its okay to be a ‘paid’ writer may have something to do with me opting for the misery that is ‘real’ and stressful work.
I’ve given myself until July to resign from the ‘other’ thankless, soul-draining job. I think by then I can come to terms with the fact that no matter how much I beg myself, that I will always . . . be . . . a writer.
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