I heard a thing about career changes on the radio recently. Apparently, everyone's well up for it these days - jacking in the daily grind and going for gold in something new and exotic. One of the top chosen professions is writing.
I don't know why this got under my skin. It seemed sort of flippant. Because writing is one of those things everyone thinks they can do, you know, if they tried. If they actually ever, you know, wrote anything. And that feels a bit dismissive of the people that are out there trying and doing - the people furiously writing under desks while they work a day job, the letter-writers, the epic emailers, the bloggers, the secret short-story writers, the poets, the diary-keepers, all of YOU. You know who you are.
I also think my grumpiness was connected to my own insecurities. I worry that I'm not trying hard enough or doing enough, or that I'm not pushing my energies in the right direction. That there's something obvious I haven't thought of yet. A part of the dam that hasn't been plugged. Another plate that needs spinning.
I also worry that I'm doing too much of the wrong things. Pursuing the things I enjoy. Writing too much about music, writing too much - well - waffle. When maybe I should be putting on a business hat (bowler? top?) and doing something....I don't know. Entrepreneurial.
Isn't that what proper writers do?
At what point do you break out of that box of career changers who just talk about writing and become.... a writer? Your first paid job? Your hundredth? When it takes over your entire working day? When it earns you enough to do it full-time? I don't know if I would call myself a writer yet, but I'm working my way down that list. I now spend more time writing than I do anything else. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. Not all of it pays, and hardly any of it pays well, but I'm in a very different place to where I was six months ago. I am finally serious about something.
I am not sure I would call myself a writer.
But I now believe there may come a day when I do.