What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

My best friends know I secretly, or not so secretly, want to be a writer when I grow up. Well, don’t we all? It’s like saying you want to be a musician or a dancer or a professional athlete. Most normal people look at you, raise an eyebrow and say “Good luck with that.” Most normal people wouldn’t bother. But having proved long ago that normality isn’t always my strong point, I have kept writing. Perhaps most surprising to me is that I still love doing it, even at eleven o’clock at night when I have put in a full shift at the office, cooked dinner, hung out the laundry, tucked in the kids and done the rounds at the supermarket. The desire to just create– to weave words and to imagine myself into someone else’s life–is a very good source of fuel. A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a publisher about a novel I’ve been working on. I’ve had a few of them. Publishers are a pretty hard-nosed lot and they don’t do false praise. I’ve never had one rip me to shreds, and I’ve had enough ‘Hey, we really like this but it’s just not quite us,’ notes to give me enough self-belief to keep going. Finally…an email that didn’t come with that inevitable BUT. It had an AND. AND we want to publish your book. Unexpected. Expected…maybe, because I know I can do this…but never quite believed. So…here I am. At the age of 42, I can finally say I know what I want to do when I grow up, and that I am doing it. Details of the book to come…still working through the business end of the deal. I may never make enough money at it to give up the day job, but who knows… Now I can keep going. I am so glad I never listened to the normal people.

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