|Guided by a higher force...|
In a swirl of lashing rain, thunder, lightening and gusty winds, autumn finally arrived in Yorkshire yesterday. Up until then it had been unseasonably warm, which my cat Pyewackett has been loving - we celebrated his Sweet 16th on Monday and he was sun bathing! I am ready to enjoy the cooler weather. Miserable weather is great for writers; it lends an atmosphere of retreat to a long day at the desk. With the heating on, candles flickering and a cup of chai tea latte beside me I can sit quite happily, writing away for hours, lulled into a dreamscape by the patter of rain against the study window.
I am into the next level of my psychotherapy course and while I'm still finding the pretentiousness of academia a bit much to take on board without rolling my eyes, I'm enjoying the course for the most part. It has already enriched my writing career - literally! The single sale of a feature on empathy has earned back the money I spent in course fees this time last year, so I can clearly see that my plan is working and both the course and my writing career will soon be feeding off one another quite effectively. More features have been placed since that one and I am surprised at how easy it has been to incorporate my new learning into an already established writing career.
It is notoriously difficult for an author to re-brand themselves and switch genres, which is why pen-names come in handy. I think psychotherapy sits on the edge of my writing sphere anyway, so it hasn't been too much of a risk for editors to run these new type of features from me as a core contributor - if anything it has simply added a fresh slant, which is what keeps magazines alive and dynamic.
It is also good for me to have a fresh focus and a whole new back-up plan, which this course has offered me. The recent recession has been a tough time for anyone who works in the creative fields. I am quite lucky in that I have several publishers, but when a long-standing magazine I contributed to regularly, folded and went under, I must confess it left me somewhat rattled. Seemingly overnight, I had lost a source of income, with no warning. This is the reality of being a freelance writer. While I have other publishing contracts and contacts to keep my business ticking over nicely, there is no doubt that commissions slowed for a time and have only just begun to pick up again. Editors are working to very tight budgets to keep their magazines and houses in business.
It seemed like as good a time as any to work on a back-up plan; one that would easily co-exist with my writing career and enrich my work. So far the plan is working like a charm; there is a sense of faith that this is something I am meant to do, and that it will keep my writing vibrant as I go. Last night when I got in from class I spent the entire night tucked away in my study studying, falling into bed at 6am. It was fun and I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I had as I drifted off to sleep. As I've mentioned in previous posts, the course is really just a stepping-stone for me, to get me closer to where I want to be. I have achieved almost all of my life goals, with only three major goals left to go...but I have a sense of certainty that I will achieve these too, now I have this new string to my bow. For the first time, these three major goals are on the horizon of my life, not yet within my reach, but I can see them and I feel now that I can make them my reality. If there is destiny at work then I feel grateful for the helping hand, and they do say that life begins at 40, so perhaps I've just been saving the best goals for last!