A New Chapter

I’d like to think there comes a point in every writer’s life where he or she decides how much time to commit to the craft. Writing, and its partner-in-crime reading, demand time. As Stephen King advocates, a writer must do two things: read a lot and write a lot. But there’s also formal learning. A budding writer can take courses, attend seminars and read the essential books, such as Robert McKee’s seminal ‘Story’, or Stephen King’s candid ‘On Writing’. All of this is irrelevant, however, if the writer cannot endure the exhausting dance with doubt: the shadow that always lurks over any writer’s shoulder.

A few months ago, I was standing at a crossroads. Down one path, I could see a career in the engineering industry stretching far into the distance. That road looked well-trodden and flat, predictable and slow. The other path was shrouded in uncertainty. It still is now.

Over the past couple of years, I’d shot a few furtive looks down that hidden path. I was fortunate enough to start writing a couple of video games, I began reading books on the craft of writing, and I discovered a keen interest in screenwriting. I did my best to pack all this around my day job, but, truth be told, it took a toll. Something had to give.

Now, I’m heading down the obscured path. I’m armed with my little desk at home, a legion of notebooks, a burgeoning desire to write and, all-importantly, the support of my wife. I’ve got no idea what lies around the corner, but I’m going to find out.

I handed in my notice a month ago to the day. Many of my colleagues were bemused by my decision. They questioned why I would give up a relatively stable job, with a decent salary, for uncertainty. My answer was simple: to explore my passion for writing. In truth, I want to spend a large chunk of my life doing something that engages and challenges me, and that has the potential to give me satisfaction.

Recently I’ve started a few new chapters in my personal life, the most significant being my marriage to Kirsty. My professional career, however, had stagnated. The days traipsed by, all-too-often devoid of challenge and intrigue. The hollow comfort of familiarity bred boredom, which gradually mutated into disillusionment. I found myself in a limbo, trapped in a wall-less prison by an internal conflict between self-doubt and perceived worth. Taking a risk and following my passion was the only way to break out.

In short, I’m going to be writing a lot more from now on. My aim is to write a new blog post a week on a range of topics: many will be about video games; some will talk about storytelling in all its forms; others will touch on movies; and there may be a few brief book reviews in there, too. In addition, I’ll be making a concerted effort to turn some of the many ideas swilling around my head and scattered across my many notebooks into coherent short stories. As soon as I can share the video game content that I’ve been writing, I shall.

I want to be able to call myself a writer with pride and confidence, and I want to create entrancing stories to prove it. I want to throw myself into constantly developing my skills, to shake off the crust of stagnation.

Now that I’m heading down this road, I’m determined not to turn back. I know I’ll need all the encouragement and criticism I can get. My wife alone cannot bear that burden, so please join me on my adventure whenever you can, and don’t hesitate to encourage and criticise. I’ll need plenty of both.

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8 thoughts on “A New Chapter

  1. Tom, I unlike you am not good with words. But I admire your decision. It’s very brave and must be exciting and scary in equal measure. I couldn’t sleep last night and ended up watching this weird property show at 4am, like you do! But unlike a lot of them 4 years on from starting their build they still hadn’t finished their “dream home” it was so refreshing! They were building it on a farm which they were running at the same time and as a bit of money came in they just did what they could. They didn’t feel any pressure from the outside world (other than from their children!) It was lovely to watch. And it’s like the farmer said “…all I can do is keep my head down!” And I decided that was my moto from now on…Head down, keep going, follow your heart! A very deep decision for 4.45am in the morning… Then I wake up and read this post!! Wishing you so much love and luck always and I know my amazing, beautiful, strong cousin will be by your side every step of the way. Love you both, Heather… Now off to make Luke’s lunchbox, with a ham sandwich which I cannot tell you how happy am about doing as I have had to make cheese and pickle everyday for the last 2 years but Luke decided it was time for a change and gave up pickle for lent so it is now all about the ham…Big life changes happening everywhere this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Making the decision to fully follow your dreams can be a difficult decision. I made a similar choice a while back and have faced many obstacles in various forms for doing so. That being said I would never change that choice. I love my job and every tiny movement towards full success always feels worthy of celebration. You can do it, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear, Gabs. I’m glad you’re still content with the choice you made. You’re an inspiration to me. We will have to meet up as a group to celebrate soon, and more importantly toast your engagement!

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