I had some great news via text on Friday to congratulate me on getting Mumsnet Blog of The Day for my post about finding time to write (below).
A flurry of activity ensued to; see for myself and then to inform the entire population of my address book of my news – eventually remembering my manners and publicly thanking Mumsnet Bloggers for selecting my humble blog for their website.
I should also thank my friends who have all been very supportive. Two in particular are very successful in the whole new media area and have been gently nudging me along the blogging and tweeting path. Jan is an amazing felt artist – we were at art school together eons ago and she has built up an enviable following over the last two years. Verity and I set our respective businesses up at the same time – both of us had to rethink our lives because of cancer (small c!). They both had great advice for me and I had been reluctant to follow through because I still didn’t believe in myself.
Last Wednesday (after a Verity and Jan interaction) I submitted my blog to Mumsnet Bloggers, just to see what would happen. Thinking, they have a huge site and a massive following, perhaps in a few weeks they might see my stuff and give me some feedback.
The next day at school I was asked if I was a working mummy. My response, “no” was met with the verbal equivalent of a sharp dig in the ribs by a friend who said, “you do work, you’re a writer.” I mumbled something about what I was doing and the lady seemed interested but I still felt a bit of a fraud.
I have the technical and creative skill required to produce artwork in lots of different media so I also consider myself an artist. I was trained – from my first day of art school – to think of myself as a designer so I did!
Why? Why do I find it so hard to say I’m a writer?
I set up this blog to try and raise my confidence levels and get feedback from other writers as well as support and knowledge about the industry. My tutor, from Warwick Uni, would say I’m a writer and I’ve had some very positive feedback on my chapters so far; the technology side of things has never phased me. My issue has been confidence and validation. Thanks to Mumsnet and their Blog of the Day, I’ve had an enormous confidence boost.
What kind of validation do I need to consider myself a writer? To be published and recognised by my peers? Is blogging publishing? I looked it up – the definition of publishing is to ‘issue into the public domain’.
I’ve done that – get ME!
This is the question I’ve been asked the most since I started my blog. My husband and I are both fully committed to his business and, as a result, we both work very long hours in our respective roles. He’s not a workaholic but his job is intense. On a normal working day he will leave at 7.30am and be home by 7pm (usually in time to kiss the children goodnight, but not always). Then there are overnighters and trips abroad. For all intents and purposes, I’m a single parent from Monday to Friday.
It’s a relevant question and applies to all ‘wannabe writers’ – not just me.
The answer is simple, I have to write – I would go potty if I didn’t. I’m a creative person and, because I’m unable to pursue my career as a designer, I found a gaping hole at my core. The creative hole is a part of my life which I need to address and fulfill – NEED.
The logistics are a little more complicated. When I get time to write, I make the most of it. It’s a rare thing so I savor it – usually a couple of hours in the day before school pick up, two or three days per week. Very often, I’ll tinker with ideas for blog posts on my ipad in the evening (I leave narrative for the day or I’d never sleep!).
I make time for writing like its my job. In most households, mothers take on a lot of guilt (I’ve got mine on!) for all sorts of things. I took a little control and cut myself some slack. Initially, it felt very indulgent but I’m now seeing the benefits. This blog is now my warm up exercise for the book and it’s working. I’m producing my 500 words per day with greater ease.
I got a real buzz out of working for myself; concentrating till my head swam and I reached a heady creative haze of productivity; the satisfaction of meeting a deadline; producing work I was happy with and proud to put my name to. I get the same buzz now from writing. It’s addictive. I just have to make sure I get the other areas of life clear to give me the space to write. The more I do it the more I believe I can produce something worthwhile.
IMAGES: Dr Who the Time Lord, the six dimensional time clock, Albert Einstein above a visual representation of his general theory of relativity and finally, Salvador Dali: a melting watch from The persistence of memory – the melting watches represent time being flowing and eternal.