This one is for those of us who still aren’t there yet
Do you ever feel like all you’re doing is working towards something, but that something is at the end of one of those spooky corridors that just keeps getting longer, further away, no matter how far down it you’ve ventured?
Yeah. Me too.
I’ve been writing since I developed thumbs. I’ve been getting paid for my writing - often in meagre amounts - since I developed bills (no, not a beak, though I’d like to see them charge a duck council tax fees). But what I’ve had to do for that payment has been, well, a lot. For a little.
As writers, you get it. We’ve all been on the frontlines of freelancing, war wounds in the shapes of our words branded onto our souls. It leaves a scar, doesn’t it? When you’re writing somebody else’s story in a font you barely recognise, just so you can “gain enough experience” to become the writer you truly want to be.
Well, I’ve had enough now.
And I’ve done enough now. Or at least, I think have.
I’ve written about pallet racking. About log cabins in Wales. About saturated fats. About menstruation. About radical acceptance. I’ve written nearly 140,000 words (that’s 1 and a half fantasy novels!) for a health and wellbeing app - that didn’t even get off the ground. I’ve written about life insurance for diabetics. I’ve written about boiler installation. I’ve written about fashion graduates and OCD and gambling sites.
But I’ve yet to be paid to write about something I love. Something I live for. A story that I want to tell.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know how lucky I am to have been paid to write, even at all! I get to do the thing that I love for a living. I get to write for my life. But at what point does it go from “living the dream” to a writemare?
I don’t want to sacrifice my words any more for stories that don’t set my soul on fire. I don’t want to forgo being the writer I know I’m meant to be. I don’t want to settle, not now, not again, not ever.
Forget entry-level. Forget volunteer writing. Forget freelancing for minimum wage. I’ve earned my name as a writer, and the gods of ink and parchment know that I will do anything to be able to write about what I love for once. And then forever.
I just need to make it happen - and here’s how
Dust settles and Phoenixes rise and I know for a fact which one I’d rather be, which one of those is a fantastical beast intent on setting the world alight with thrill and excitement - and which one I’ll become if I stay at a standstill in a place I don’t want to be.
So, I need to:
- Take the leap. Feel the fear. Do what makes me uncomfortable for a second - to find where I belong for a lifetime. Maybe that means quitting my job before I’ve another lined up. Maybe that means reaching out to people who are way out of my writerly league. Maybe that means being loud, stubborn and immovable when it comes to what I want.
- And do it now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not “soon.” Not after the fear has subsided. Not when I can afford it. Not when I feel “more prepared.” Because I already have exactly what I need: my words, and my will. And I will wield my words for good.
So I guess there’s nothing left to do now, but do it
Wish me luck. And I wish right back to you.
It’s settled then. No more settling for us.
*Goes off and does it.*