Well, is it? Fate?
I'd decided that it was time to concentrate fully on my new 'day job' - which is actually 18/7 - and I'm pretty serious too! And as Hilary Devey on Dragons Den said, 'It's what we do dear' to one of the young female entrepreneurs who seemed to thing starting up your own business would be 9 - 5.
I'm used to long hours so that doesn't phase me - but over the past few months, so many 'things' have been falling into place that I'm beginning to wonder why? how-come?
Some years ago, I fell into a 'return to study' situation that I'd not expected. I'd been trying to sign up for a popular computer course which was full. I bumped into an acquaintance who was signing up for Law GSE 'O' Level. 'Come with me' she said. So I did. I wasn't giving up at the first hurdle - and didn't stop until I'd received my English Literature, Linguistics, Creative Writing and Masters Degree in Lancaster a few years ago ... and I'm not quite sure I'm stopping there !
It's true, I've spent years studying and researching Power and Language - Speech and Thought - Memory - Educational Studies, joining writing groups, practising my craft - and now - everything seems to be coming together at last.
So, I could say it's FATE ...
Was it FATE that the computer course was full? - or I could say that ...
Since my degrees, I'd written a number of projects which I was interested in pursuing. But which?
So, taking a deep breath, I decided to flaunt my ideas - and see which project made the most noise.
Right - so - er - what now - er - Unless I started networking, facing people with my ideas, no-one would know about the various writing projects juggling for pole position Disney-esque style on the book-shelves in my study.
Actively networking changed everything - or was it FATE that I bumped into certain people at a particular time in my life - who unknowingly changed the direction of my writing?
Even though I'm quite out-going, inside, I'm shy - but I had to make sure people knew I was out there and available for business - writing projects, charity work ...
At one meeting, I found myself sitting next to a newspaper editor. At another, a Care Home Owner. At family celebration, a Senior School Headmaster. On the train, I met a Psychologist, another time, a Business Mentor ... the list goes on. I must admit, the timing of everything / everybody in relation to the stage of my writing project was occasionally 'weirding me out.'
From the networking came a request to edit some work for a children's cancer charity. Sad work you might think, but I was honoured to be able to help in some way - and especially lucky to be doing it in a way which I enjoyed. However, volunteering my work created a profound opportunity ...
At the very first editing meeting, someone - someone who happened to be the CEO of a reputable company [more later], noticed my images and text from Creative Writing Workshops that I'd run ~ Interactive Pages to help people express feelings. Less than five minutes after the end of the meeting, I'd been commissioned to write for the CEO's company. So was that FATE - that this person just happened to be at the meeting?
Or was it because this person was at the first networking meeting I'd attended and she'd heard me flaunting my ideas?
For the first time, I began to work on one writing project only - and it felt good. I took all the other half-finished projects off the shelf [Disney orchestra is now backing a tune played by the smallest violin in the world], stored them carefully in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet - and moved on.
Whilst writing my commission, ideas were continually flooding into my head at a terrific speed and I realised two things - 1] how my work, edited into different styles and topics could be beneficial to all Care Service or School Support Workers when identifying needs of young people and adults experiencing difficulties in life - I recognised that even more research was required - 2] how I needed to totally immerse myself in art, music, language ...
Timing was perfect - It was September - college enrolment time - [Was that FATE?] so I signed up for two Art Classes - which did wonders for my creative confidence. Thanks to Gareth Malone, choirs were popping up all over the country - including the town where I live. Another example of brilliant timing - I became a choir member [I didn't just join to network ! I do enjoy singing by the way - and would personally recommend it for its possibilities as a stress-buster, relaxation or uplifting experience] It turns out that many of the wonderful choir members are involved in Care Service or Teaching professions. [Dare I say it ... FATE?] Joining a national and professional society - Children's Book Writers and Illustrators [SCBWI] provided inspiring events, networking opportunities and a marvellous member/writer support system.
Keeping my eyes and ears on local writerly events, I became involved with Blackpool's Literature Festival 'Wordpool' [Oct 31st - Nov 16th]. Meeting up with like-minded people saw the beginning of Mastermind; a group which discusses - and continues to discuss routes to publishing [doesn't every writer?]. And so, it was here that I learned that I wasn't a novelist ! Screams and shouts were thankfully using their indoor voices inside my head whilst I understood this new information. But then it all made sense - Using art with text was a much more suitable style for me, especially when I could draw on my studies and research. If I hadn't met these people, I would still be banging my head against a wall, trying to complete 'that novel.' So, was it FATE that I met those people who modified my writing plans?
Successful meetings with the Headmaster from the family celebration; another acquaintance who leads a Senior School Student Support Centre and the Business Mentor I'd met on the train, contributed to successful outcomes which lead to new and improved plans. I signed up to Linkedin, attended SEO seminars, tax seminars and start-up business talks from banks who wanted to sign everyone up to their business advice programme - basically so they could £ charge you to write a business proposal in order to be able to ask them to lend you money ... argh! Watch out for that everyone ! Fortunately, I didn't need the loan but might require a business bank account - who knows, one day I might be employing staff, paying printers, wages, tax bills ...
New ideas for Pages - social and emotional issues, activities, metaphors, colour schemes, were keeping me awake at night, every night. Once my writing commission was complete, I expanded my work into School Student Support. By chance, a best friend [Lead primary teacher in a US university school] visited me for some time - the timing of her visit was perfect. I was more than pleased at her interest in my work. Her feedback gave me an assurance to continue. [Could the timing of her visit FATE?].
Internet research showed the government's response to the riots in October 2011 - Louise Casey was to write a report based on and around the riots - and later became the head of The Troubled Family Unit. More ideas to help, more issues, more colourful pages ...
Meanwhile, people I've met during my life seem to keep filling gaps in the development of my Happy Days writing project, filling it with promise.
I'm considering a PhD - researching, evaluating and planning creative ideas to assist Early Intervention - identifying young and adult people's needs earlier will hopefully be beneficial to society. Last night, an event which prompted this blog; I sang with the choir at a choir member's birthday bash. I hadn't known before, but this person happens to be a Professor ... there's another connection here but I'll leave that for you to work out ...
So was it FATE that got me to Happy Days Publishing - or was it because I'd made a decision - I'd opened my mind to possibilities? ... I got out there, networked, focussed, took advice, followed my plan and continue to work 18/7 ?
Either way - If I hadn't made the decision to follow my dream - it probably wouldn't be happening right now. But if I hadn't bumped into those people ... at that time ... who knows?
Next update from Hogwarts,