Biting bullets and finding hearts

So I bit the bullet and enrolled in this writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. The last time I took a writing course was in 2005. I was working full-time and childless, and even then I didn’t/couldn’t finish it. I’d had 2-3 years to complete it and then Dad died in 2006. I lost the heart for any kind of writing then, and for a good couple of years more too. Ok, why now? I write in a vacuum. It keeps me focused. It helps capture the voice/s of the story, flaws and all. It’s also very unhealthy. Things get stale; you need outside influences to inflate or deflate the story. And though the first course wasn’t as interactive as I’d hoped, it greatly improved my writing by leaps and bounds. And why this one? Actually, it was their weekly podcast that kinda sold me. The hosts, Allison and Valerie are working writers and industry pros. These ladies walk the talk. Plus they’re entertaining. I’m a little nervous how I’ll manage for time and creativity this time round but lucky it’s just a five week course where I’ll be ‘forced’ to complete an assignment within a certain timeframe. And look, what have I got to lose really? Bit o’ blood, bit o’ heart, makes the story sweeter.

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The lure of confessing into a void…

So in two years’ time, I might be out of a job. Major changes in my industry means my career may become redundant.

As the current sole breadwinner and with a preschool-aged child, this terrifies me. I’ve started looking at other avenues – study something else, start again in another area of my field. Either way, it involves having to start from the bottom up. It’s not the end of the world, but a part of me lamented: “I won’t have time for writing! I’ll never finish my novel!”

Then I had an epiphany. I thought: that’s bullshit, Karen. You never had time. You always have time. You have excuses, too. I’m too tired, I’m too busy. I’m always working. I have no space to write. There’s a show on telly. My dad died. I moved countries. I gave birth. I don’t feel the inspiration. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. Blah blah blah.

You never gain time as you get older; you gotta make it. I remember why I dreamed and wrote in the first place. I remember why I loved it so much. Somehow between that dream and now, I was worrying about having enough time more than how I was using it. Nothing puts things into focus more clearly than fear of losing.

So I’m gonna sit my ass down and write. Wake up at 5am on the weekend, write a bit after work, write in the car, on the toilet, in the dark – whatever, doesn’t matter. Just write. I don’t need to be published (although one can only hope 😀 ), I just want to finish something.

Losing my job still terrifies me and writing is hardly a safety net, certainly not enough to quit my day job. But I feel better for it. It keeps me sane and cheerful. It’s my own little slice of time.

There. Gauntlet thrown. Hit ‘OK’. The truth is out there now.