It felt like I was on a writing roll as 2015 saw me publish my third novel which I had written and brought to publication within a 12 month period. This was the fastest I’d ever managed so far – the first novel took me four years to write and that was in the 1980s/1990s, the second took two years – between 2012 and 2014, so everything was going in the right/write direction. I must admit I did wonder how I would top a novel in a year, but then something happened which knocked me off my pedestal.
In November, I was notified that I was at risk of losing my job as technical writer and in December I became redundant and left office-based work behind. It was a strange liminal time tainted by happy memories of a job I had done for over fifteen years and the certainty that it would not continue in future. I began to grieve for the job I had had while facing future uncertainty.
A number of people asked me if I was now going to write full-time. This was a wonderful tribute to their enjoyment of my novels so far but I have always known that writing full-time for a living isn’t feasible. Well, not the creative writing that I love.
I had hoped that one day I might have built up a sufficient portfolio of work in the market place to top up my pension but in truth I’m a long way off that – both in years and in the number of works I have completed! TS Eliot worked in a bank for a living. Stephen King worked as a high school teacher, Arthur Conan Doyle was a medical practitioner, Franz Kafka was an insurance broker, Agatha Christie was an apothecary’s assistant, and so on. Real creative writers it seems are multitaskers. And as Joanna Penn teaches writers need to look at multiple streams of income.
I have to admit that my first month of freedom was spent floundering about in the deluge of time I now had, trying to find a framework within which to reside. I still haven’t found the new normal in my life but a trip to Edinburgh just before Christmas to visit family and friends and a few exhibitions in Scotland’s beautiful capital city was restorative.
And although we are now well into 2016, I am starting a new phase of my life. The framework is still unknown but I know that there will be writing – creative writing. I still have the desire to write and tell stories and to bring these to market. I’m excited for the future and look forward to visiting Crimefest in Bristol again this May. I also know there will be work – other work – I just don’t know what it will be yet. So that is exciting too. It is an opportunity to explore possibilities and grow in a new direction.
So after floundering for a month or two, I’ve rediscovered my writing mojo and I’m all set to go.
May 2016 be a great year for you too!