Keeping the dream alive

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I was always writing when I was a child. Even if I wasn’t sat with a pen and paper, I was still inventing characters in my mind or describing tall tales to my friends on the playground. I’d spend my pocket money on new notebooks and fancy pens. I entered writing competitions and was successful. When I wasn’t writing, I was reading. Jacqueline Wilson was my favourite author and one time I even got to meet her. I still have the book that she signed for me on my 10th birthday. Books were my life. I’d spend my evenings picking up tips from other writers, wishing I knew this character or that one, losing myself in fictional worlds… my life centred around the power of the imagination.

I still wrote in my teenage years. Dark, angsty poetry was my thing. I still have the volumes and volumes of notebooks under my bed, all marked with ‘DO NOT READ’.

I studied English Literature at university and excelled in all of my creative writing modules. I ended up graduating with a First. I was happy, spending my days lost in narrative and writing about it. But then when university finished and it was time to get into the ‘real world’, I chose to teach.

I do not regret my choice. I loved my job, I really did. I was lucky enough to work with fantastic people and brilliant children. I got to bring other imaginations to life, to share some of my favourite stories with the next generation and to get young people genuinely excited about reading.

But I do wish that I had dedicated more time to my real passion of writing and not spent so much of my enthusiasm at work. I’d come home some nights so tired that I just wanted to sit down on of the sofa and vegetate. I’d socialise and meet friends after work so I didn’t feel like I was letting anyone down when really, at least once a week, I should have dedicated some time to pursuing what I really wanted to do. I let my writing slide and, by doing so, I let one of the things I love the most about myself dim.

Then one day I realised that I could blame teaching and tiredness all I wanted, but I was the one in control of the path I was going down. I had all these dreams to write and travel, yet I wasn’t actively going for them. I was saving money to travel one day and buying new notebooks and dreaming of fantastical storylines, but I wasn’t actually doing anything about it.

Enough was enough… and now here I am, in Australia and writing every day.

I am lucky enough to have saved enough money to travel and to support myself for a few months whilst I reneltlessly pursue my dream. This blog is one of my creative outlets, but whenever I am not working on this or exploring this beautiful country I spend my time working on a young adult fiction novel. I spend my time creating and crafting… I spend my time doing all of the things I wish I had done as a child.

I feel good for it. I feel like I challenge my brain daily with using a new word correctly, enhancing my vocabulary, changing a section to convey more meaning, adding another twist to a narrative. I have received so many messages from people telling me that they love to read my blog that sometimes I feel really emotional. Their validation tells me that I aren’t wasting my time and that I am right to pursue this. But even without it, the personal gains from going for what I have always wanted are still so, so worth it.

I know that I was lucky enough to earn enough to give myself this luxury of time, but I also know that when the time comes for me to once again have a ‘real’ job and my writing running alongside each other that I will be doing things differently. I will make time for what I really love to do. I will say no to plans, schedule my time well and make time for myself to do the thing I love he most.

When we are children the world seems so innocent and full of potential. Somewhere along the way as adults we lose that vision, but the world is still the same place. Whilst I might not ever get published by a major publisher, I might never write a screenplay that changes the world or have my words mean something to someone out there, I am in charge of myself and how I choose to put myself out there. Every time I post a blog post, even if it gets no readers at all, I am keeping my dream alive. The little girl who would spend her nights and weekends reading and writing would be proud of me. I kept her alive, I’ve grown her and nurtured her. I’m who I wanted to be as a child.

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