Sometimes I think that the first step to achieving a thing is just admitting to the world that you want it. When I first started to believe that writing might be something that I’d like to do for a living I applied to a series of websites for opportunities and was, in the most part, ignored. I still held out hope, as one does when one is ignored, that possibly the owners of these websites were just busy an that my positive responses were coming soon. During this time of hopeful waiting, while talking about work and life in the office, I girded my loins and admitted to someone who wasn’t Pete, my sister-in-law or Mayhem that actually what I really wanted to do was write and that as a first step I’d applied to several websites for an opportunity to try. That very afternoon my first positive response came back to me.

A couple of weeks ago I published my novelette to kindle, a week later I created a Facebook page as an author, this last week I have had constant work as a ghost writer. All the work has, so far, come from the same source so I admit I’m not developing an amazing portfolio of clients but I have more work coming tomorrow and a reason to hope for yet more than that. It’s been incredible. I’m actually a working writer; earning my keep.

In many ways this has been a perfect week. The first few days of writing were tiring, the deadlines were tight and I had to focus to get the work done, I was working evenings and weekends and finishing the day mentally exhausted. But we were also sleeping outside in the tent in the sunshine and the combination of the ‘holiday’ feeling of camping and the convenience of having all our facilities at hand has made that experience wonderfully relaxing. I wake in the morning refreshed, have my first cup of tea in the garden with Pete and work my way through my yoga before getting to work feeling like I’m at my best.

I have to say that I love the freedom. I work at the times and in the places that it’s comfortable for me to work. If Pete’s out or watching ‘Road Wars’ I work in the evening, if it’s not too warm or too cold I work in the garden. I may work twelve hours straight one day and seven with breaks the next. I may work in my pajamas from the moment I’m awake or wear a pretty dress just because I want to. If my days off happen to be midweek, I very often, choose to keep working on my own writing rather than taking a time out because that’s the thing about writing, you don’t do it because it’s a really great career plan with awesome prospects. You do it because you want to and you and those you love accept the risk that you may never earn well from it.

This little oasis of earning and constant work may not last long. Eventually the work from this client will dry up and I will have to go looking for more and it may be weeks or even months before I find it but what I know now is that I can find it. The work is out there and I can do it. I can bring home the bacon and leave happy customers doing exactly what I want to do. I don’t have the words to explain what an incredible buzz that is. I have a feeling of confidence and control that I’ve never had before in my life and moreover a feeling of independence.

For so much of my life I’ve felt like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, desperately trying to change my shape. I’ve been able to do my job well, at least my customers said so, but I’ve been stressed and miserable and reliant on managers to appreciate how hard I’m working. I am now my own manager. A happy customer is all I need to know that I’m doing my job well and my time is mine to prioritise. For the first time in my life I truly enjoy my job. I now face an interesting question, could I ever go back? There was always a part of me that knew that if I turned out to be a deluded egoist I would have to return to wage labour one day. It didn’t escape me that it’s not fair to place all the pressure on Pete to bring home a wage and of course I am also used to earning a wage. Earning a wage and being a contributor form a part of your self-esteem that baking cakes just doesn’t cover. But now, now that I’ve felt what it feels like to be my own woman and earn doing something I truly love, could I go back? The thought makes we want to weep.

At the moment I have the sun on my back, an afternoon working on my own writing to enjoy and another package of paid work to look forward to in the morning. Life is good. I have however promised myself to be sensible. That I won’t expect it to be this great again, at least not immediately. That there are a hundred writers out there and I’m always competing. I’ve told myself that I won’t become wedded to expectations of work that may fall through. I have also nevertheless pledged to suck every ounce of pleasure and pride out of this time in the sun and that I won;t give up. When the going gets tough and the work isn’t there, when no one’s buying my books and I feel like a pratt for writing them, when I’ve not earned a wage in months and I feel guilty and useless, I will remember this week and keep plugging away. Because I am a working writer and I can earn my keep. It’s been a helluva week.

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