What writers want: opportunities

Most people simply endure their lives.  They’re not happy with their jobs – and since on average they spend 5 of their 7 weekly days there, that’s a lot of unhappiness swilling around our world!  On the weekend, I joined the School of Life’s Sunday parishioners to hear creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson share  his observations on passion, talent and imagination.  Sir Ken works closely with schools, and he’s seen the way kids are moulded and squeezed into little boxes that don’t fit them, and go on to work in jobs that don’t suit them either. 

According to Sir Ken, the happy, enthusiastic people he’s met (in his book ‘The Element: how finding your passion changes everything’ he mentions Matt Groening, Meg Ryan and economist Dr Paul Samuelson) are those who’ve found an alignment between their passion, work, values, and emotions.  They don’t see work as that thing to be endured until the evening or weekend.  Interestingly, these people never planned this life for themselves – they were fortunate enough in their early lives to find their ‘Element’ – “the place where the things you love to do and the things that you are good at come together” and actively grasped any opportunity that came their way in pursuit of it.

A few months before her very first novel was released, Kaz Mahoney talked to a group of budding writers (including me!) about her progression into writing as a full-time lifestyle.  Her novel, The Iron Witch, wasn’t even on the shelves yet, but Kaz was being offered opportunities to write short stories in anthologies, and feature pieces on popular blogs – and she was grasping them with enthusiasm!  I could tell that Kaz had laid the groundwork for those opportunities to come her way.  She hadn’t planned to contribute to an anthology, or become an expert commentator on The Vampire Diaries, but she’d found her Element as a writer with a gift for crafting stories of alchemy and dark magic and people recognised both her passion and her talent when she spoke and blogged.

Since I’ve finally acknowledged (to myself and others) that I am meant to be A WRITER, I’ve met a lot of unhappy people who also feel the same way, but are too scared to start.  And whilst I’ve begun my novel, I still feel fearful.  Writing is a potentially risky lifestyle choice in terms of paying the rent on time or feeding oneself or one’s family, but I have had to ask myself if it’s not riskier to keep living that old life that was never really meant to be mine in the first place? 

I truly hope that as we writers position ourselves in our Element, opportunities will start to reveal themselves, leading us on an exciting, passionate literary-tinged journey.


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