January 22

Inspiration from old friends

Words of wisdom under the railway arches

By In Inspiration, Thoughts 2 mins

There are some people you meet that just have an air about them, y’know? My old boss was one of them. She just had such a calming effect, a nurturing nature, a drive to succeed and see those around her succeed, too. She was so great to work for, and with.

I haven’t worked there for years, but I caught up with her the other day. She no longer lives in these parts but was visiting for work-related stuff, and so we met in Southwark and dined on Thai noodles almost alone under the railway arches. And we barely chatted about that work-related stuff; instead, we talked for hours about writing.

See, said old boss is a published novelist. She self-published a few years back and has had some success with it; the book sales slowly tick along in the background while she works full time and raises two tween boys and works on the follow-up and moves across the world and back. (I told she she was pretty darn inspiring.) But this was the first time we ever really spoke about our fiction worlds, our passions, our compulsion to write. It was such a lovely evening exploring our ideas, how we want to structure them and work on the details. What we want to happen with them when they’re done. What we would do if we couldn’t create their worlds anymore.

It was the first time I really felt like an author. I mean, I’ve called myself a writer because I do this stuff professionally to make a living, but that’s all marketing, journalism, real-world explorations. My own world is different. Protected. Just for me. One day it will need to be released into the world, but for now I can keep it safe, hidden away under lock and key, while I polish and perfect. A writer, yes, always. But an author? That’s a new feeling.

I chose to go freelance with my work at the end of 2016 so that I could focus on the author dream, but it’s not really worked out that way. I – touch wood – have been much more successful than I imagined, and I find it hard to say no. This year, though, I’ve vowed to tone it down, to pare it back. 2019 is the year I make a concerted effort, working towards that childhood dream of being a published author.

And the old boss? She had such a calming effect, a nurturing nature, a drive to succeed and see those around her succeed, too. Her parting words to me were simple: You are an author. Just go out and do it.

PS: this is the second version of this blog. I wrote a beautifully eloquent first draft, before my internet connection failed and it got gobbled up. I now add to the wisdom: draft offline before you publish online. Dammit.

Written by LJ McMenemy

Thinker of random thoughts. Writer of random dreams.

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