On doing and becoming (a writer)

The act of writing is easy enough. One simply puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and repeats as necessary. In making the journey from writing to writer however, things can start feeling more complicated.

Unlike professions which require completion of a certain qualification, or training in a particular set of skills, there are many different paths you can take to become a writer. For me such a realisation has been both wonderful and challenging. Wonderful because it means the door is theoretically open to anyone who wishes to write, but challenging because with such opportunity comes an extraordinarily generous measure of crippling self-doubt.

Writing and a writer

Writing has always been something I’ve pursued in the background, treating it more like a dream than a serious venture. Being a writer seemed to be a thing that other people did, and it never really occurred to me that writing is something I could and should be focussing on. So I’ve spent many years in professional wilderness – working in jobs I didn’t like, wishing I could just be ‘normal’ and be happy working in a corporate nine-to-five kind of job.

Having the past ten months away from work has honestly been the best thing I have ever done. Instead of it being time ‘off’, those months have very much been time ‘on’. I have learnt so much about myself and my writing during that time, and I finally feel like I have a clear sense of my future goals.

Even though I still have some unfinished business to take care of back at the day job, I have decided to completely embrace this writing life and all the ups and downs that come with it. While I may not always be comfortable expressing it, I know that in many ways I have always been, and will always be, a writer.

Dreaming of escape

Perhaps the reason I’ve been more there than here, is because I’ve been spending too much time in my head. There just seems to be more stuff than usual to think about. Or maybe I’m a little too preoccupied with dreams of future possibilities and opportunities.

Everything feels messy and up-in-the-air, so I feel all scattered and time poor. I go to start something and just don’t seem able to commit to it, and so I start another thing, then feel bad for not finishing off the first thing, go back to it again, run into the same trouble as before, and then start on something entirely different … and so the cycle continues. It’s frustrating and annoyingly inefficient, but I’m hoping to eventually find some method in the madness.

Dreaming about Paris, or New York, or somewhere...

This year was always going to be a pivotal year for me, and perhaps that’s adding to my general out-of-sorts feeling of late. I have a significant bucket of long service leave waiting for me, so I’ve been thinking on how best to use that time (which will hopefully include lots of sleeping and writing). In deciding not to go ahead with our trip to Japan, there are new travel plans in development to venture overseas later in the year (maybe London, maybe New York, maybe Paris … wherever really). These are all happy things to think on for sure, and that’s why the struggle is so puzzling.

So until I figure out how to make myself more here than there, maybe we can all just look at the pretty macaroons and dream of Paris? … Interestingly, the place I dream of most often is somewhere which may be of my own creation – it is a place built from dark black stone and thick-cut steps which lead up to streets with wide cobblestone paths. It is built on a steep outcrop which looks out over a swirling, midnight-coloured ocean. Nestled within this ominous and moody environment, is a surprisingly vibrant and modern city … wherever that place is or isn’t, it seems pretty fabulous to me. Maybe we can all go there together? (the weather always looks really nice, so that’s something). Dream of wondrous things, dear ones.