So today I was offered a job, my first editing job, to help someone write a book. I was thrilled to be asked to help them through the writing process, and the fact that I had been the only person to be interviewed, and the amount of money involved has filled me with illation. I have had a few writing jobs since decided last year to write full time, but this felt different, I know i’ve passed through a career door.
Since last year i’ve written around 30 short stories, a novel, and now i’m about 20k through my second novel, Manchester At Midnight. I’ve written backstories for a SCI-FI card game, i’ve developed a boardgame from the ground up, and i’ve put my scientific background to good use. I’d say I have been very fortunate, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact i’ve gone after what i wanted, and when it didn’t work I looked for something else.
Writing isn’t for everyone, not because of the work, but the type of work. It is something that requires you to work no matter what everyone else thinks, and that includes you. Esteem isn’t to be recognised or considered as you try and make a living out of lying your way through what is hopefully an emotional engaging moment. You write because you want to, because it’s fun, and if you forget that along the way you might lose your step and end up in something more reliable, something that makes sense.
I have always wanted to be a writer, but it’s only over the past year that i’ve been confident enough to actually try, to give it a go, to make mistakes. I was very good at starting things, but I wasn’t very good at finishing them. I’d find myself with these bold ideas, and then somewhere along the page i’d find myself getting in the way, and dirtying up the story, so i’d stop.
My advice to anyone going after what they want, is to just do it, and get it finished. Worry later, or better wet worry in the moment, let that energy force you to get it out there for people to validate what you already know. Writing is funny because once it’s finished you can’t belittle it quite as easily as you can when it’s an idea, you find yourself giving it a little more respect that you had originally hoped.
I think that writing, like all art, is a organism that changes your body irreconcilably. You finish things, and suddenly you find that you’ve connected to the world in a way you didn’t think possible. People point out that you can’t be all that crap because they like your work, and you know you shouldn’t believe them but you find yourself listening more and more.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, start tonight, right now. Pick up your pen, your brush, your instrument and do it. If you have a crap job, use it. If you’re struggling in your relationship, use it. If you feel like a complete outsider and a tourist of life, use it. Make it real, connect to yourself through your art, and show it to people. They might like it, they might not, but I guarantee that the connection is real, even if it’s only momentary. Don’t waste the seconds, just start, around now will do.