When I read those author interviews, you know the ones,
the ones where the successful writer claims they ‘always knew they were going to write’, that they wrote their first word before they were out of nappies, their first short story before their first spoken word, their first novel before leaving junior school – those interviews – I read them with a mixture of resentment and admiration.
Admiration because anyone who is together enough to have a life plan at a young age is truly blessed and resentment because I … didn’t.
I drifted through school, got kicked out of college, fell into retail (hairdressing, measuring old ladies for corsets, selling extra strong cider in an off licence, waiting tables in a cafe that closed a week after I started) … I was hopeless.
When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up I shrugged. Drift, drift, drift …
Floristry came along and was a reliable way to earn a little money, but it was only after I put myself through a degree and the studying was over that a hole opened in my life that needed to be filled.
And I filled it with an old love – writing. And I realised – I had found it. I’d found my one, true love.
Nine years and a LOT of writing later, I’m starting to feel vaguely competent. I’m not sure if I’ve completed Malcolm Gladwell’s fabled 10,000 hours yet, but I don’t think I’m that far off and there are days when I feel I’m at a publishable standard.
But at 48, have I left it too late for a career in writing?
There maybe some hope for us yet.