Today is the first day of my part-time teaching hours. Which officially means it’s the first day of my working as a writer. It’s requiring quite a shift in mentality, from writing being something I do in a spare hour between this and that, to being an actual job that I sit down and do regularly. For a long time, I felt guilty about writing because it took me away from all the other things that needed doing for the house and the children and the teaching. Now I just feel guilty that we’ve taken a pay cut for me to pursue something that I hope will pay off in the long run but currently is just a dream. I’m lucky that I have 100% support from family and friends… but that doesn’t stop the guilt.
So to try and alleviate that, I’m determined to treat the writing as a job that needs doing. As we all know, Procrastination would be my middle name if I could be bothered to change it, so it’s very important to me that I make maximum use of my official writing hours. If I don’t do a list, I can see very easily that my time will be taken up playing with the puppy and reading the latest crime novel instead of writing it.
I feel excited. I’m a step closer to making writing my full-time, permanent job. I’ve got one novel written and am inspired to start the next one.
But I feel guilty about the sacrifices my family are making.
But I feel lucky that my family are willing to make that sacrifice for me. And since I’ve finished the first novel, I’ve been touched by the number of friends and family who have contacted me to wish me well and to recount tales of when I shared stories with them in the past.
But I feel terrified that I won’t be able to make a go of it and the sacrifice will be for nothing. It feels like the dream is close… but we all know that sometimes the closeness may as well be a million miles if you can’t grasp it.
But I have to feel positive. I know I’m in a very privileged position. There’s been so many waypoints along the journey that I can consider blessings: being a part of the UEA, particularly the crime fiction cohort; having masterclasses with some of the best writers in the business; meeting an amazing group of fellow crime writers who I know will be with me every step of the way; winning the David Higham; finishing the novel; and I’m still riding the agent rollercoaster, waiting to hear back from a couple more. And there’s more to come. I’m at Noirwich next week, reading from our anthology Postmortem, which is an unbelievable opportunity and then will be at the London launch of the anthology in October. The novel is submitted for the MA so hopefully that will meet the criteria for the course. And I’ve started writing the next installment of the series.
Exciting, exciting times… but scary too. So, so scary. Wish me luck, people. I’m going in.