Just a thought – about being a writer

I have always dreamed of being a writer. From about age seven or eight I wanted to be a writer. Over the years I have achieved a significant body of work, some of it published, much of it languishing in books, folders or on the hard drive of my computer.

Sidelined

At an early age I also realised – I’m not sure how – that writing was not a terribly lucrative career choice unless one was very talented or knew the right people. I didn’t fit into either category, and so I was sidetracked for 35 years in a classroom. While I achieved a great deal as a teacher, there was always the deep seated desire to do more writing than just setting aside an hour or two here and there, and a few days in the holidays. At times it was frustrating, because teaching is such an exhausting vocation it left little energy for the creative demands of writing. I still do not know how I managed to average over a hour of writing per day over the last decade of my teaching career. Discipline I guess, mixed with a dollop of passion.

A huge chasm

Now that I’ve retired I can write more or less full time. I have now discovered an interesting fact about being a writer. There is a huge chasm between the dream (call it a fantasy if you wish) of being a writer and the reality of being a writer. Elizabeth George, author of the Inspector Lynley series, says that “Lots of people want to have written: they don’t want to write. In other words, they want to see their name on the front cover of a book with their grinning picture on the back.” They are not prepared to give what it takes to finish a novel, for example. They are in love with the “idea” of being a writer. They want the kudos without the hard work that goes with achieving that recognition.

An image problem

I guess I still have an image problem. I think I might still harbour an idealised image of what a writer’s life is like. Day by day, week after week and as each month goes by I am beginning to have that image modified, clarified. Being a writer is hard work. The head aches, the neck is stiff, the backside gets numb and sometimes the words will just not come. All in a day’s work. And yes – it is hard work. My idealised version is far from the reality I am now experiencing.

Despite the dawning of reality I am still going to write. To me, it is like breathing. It is just something I have to do to stay alive.

Good writing.

 

2 Responses to “Just a thought – about being a writer”

  1. Jessica/red says:

    Your writing is interesting, and some of it makes you think. As for the idealized picture you have of what a writer’s life would be, only you can define. In time you should have no worries “image problem”? as you mentioned, for you are the Writer, so it is all in your hands (so to speak) on what your life and your work is. Takes serious balls to share any thoughts, experiences or creations with anyone-let alone strangers—don’t stop, (with anything that truly makes you feel alive—Don’t Quit!

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks Jessica.

    Encouraging words like yours keep me going.

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