Mid Life Crisis

I’m coming out of self-imposed retirement. (Can you retire from something you aren’t technically doing properly?) After my last post about slow progress, it seemed that even slow progress can grind to a total halt when you aren’t actually doing the very thing you want to be doing. I basically, pretty much stopped writing. I dabbled in a few words of a novel I’m writing. I re-read and re-tweaked a couple of picture book stories I’d done. I looked at this blog page wondering what on earth I could write about… and that was it. Well, apart from my epic maintenance of twitter (@annamansell) and my reading pile diminishing at a steady pace as I ploughed through all the books I wanted to read to help give me some perspective on my aims… (and despite this, succinct sentences and appropriate grammar still escape me).
Instead, I did what I have affectionately been calling a mid-life crisis (early onset). I – despite the lack of book deal, agent, global economic stability, reliable income stream with which to put a roof over my children’s head – jacked my job in and took off on a flight of fancy.
Yes. I left my job. My well paid, reliable, relatively secure, perfectly enjoyable job. In order to pursue a pipe dream. Ok, so it’s not all bleak – him in doors has a good job and hopefully somebody somewhere will want to offer me a little bit of freelance work to justify my existence, but – I really strongly felt that without making a clear case for my future, I was not going to make it happen. That was two weeks ago today and I can confidently say that I’ve achieved more in the last two weeks then I have in the last two years… despite having my mother to stay, moving house and perforating every wall of my new lounge in an ill thought through attempt to create an on-trend gallery wall. (Polyfilla anyone?)
And here I am. Sat at our dining table, with laptop in front of me, ipad with twitter page to the left, radio 4 behind me and a cup of tea to my right. I’ve just submitted my second column for a local magazine and I’ve started the planning for a series of picture books I’ve had in my mind for a while. Planning I’ve avoided because it all seemed too much like hard work when I could be instagramming pictures of my lunch direct to my @ feed. Basically now, I’m a slanket short of a writer.
At this point I could write a blog about at when do you become ‘a writer’? (I suspect it’s more than slanket’s and tea) But let’s face it, despite not being the first, last or even middling person to write that particular blog, I don’t think I could bare the pain of embarrassment that I’d undoubtedly feel if I read it back in years to come… when I’ve ‘made it’. I suspect it’ll be bad enough reading this one back.
And what do I mean by ‘made it’? For me, it’s simple: A story, I have written, is taken on by a publisher, printed in a book, available in print on the shelves in all good bookshops. I know. A traditional aim in an industry moving far and away from traditional means, but I don’t think I know a writer out there that doesn’t want that – no matter how many e-books people are downloading now.
*skips off to buy slanket off ebay*


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