Saturday 28 February 2015

Number One Career

The big news on Twitter last week was that being a writer was voted the most desirable profession. I was reminded of my youngest daughter years ago, not averse to the odd scribble herself, when she was asked whether she'd like to be a writer like her Mum.

No way, she said, you have to sit in the study all day, even at weekends.

Forget the home-cooked seven-a-day delicacies, the 3am home-baked birthday cakes, hugging my children before and after school, taking them - and half the team - to sports matches, stirring the vat of hot chocolate to the delight of parents stuck at work knowing I'd be on hand to take in their equally delighted freezing toe-d children when snow closed the school early.

No, 21st century Rapunzel, that's what I was.

Writing is about hours and hours spent alone, no or little pay (for a while or forever) and rejection.

And I love it.

I love it for the flexibility writing gives me with my family life, even if my children may need to become parents themselves before they really appreciate it.

I love starting with a blank page and even before the bottom of my first cup of tea, seeing words on the screen which didn’t exist before I put them there. I decided on the plot and created the fictitious people required to bring that plot to life and that, well that blows my mind.

And I love it for weeks like this.

I love it because my stories are the only workplace where I am totally absorbed and my mind doesn't wander, the to–do list is forgotten and worries shunted to the back of my mind. I love it because it allows me to teach and nothing is more rewarding than watching light bulbs igniting in fellow happy scribblers.

And I really love it for weeks like this.

But I can't tell you exactly why. I will. Just as soon as we've agreed on a title, something on the lines of making lemonade when life gives you lemons, or it not being all bad, or silver linings.

Clearly there's still some work to do on that ...