Following your dreams is, to be frank, bloody difficult. Most of us opt for the safe option of the nine to five; a beast which once it has its claws in you, is very hard to shake off. That’s the rut I was in until about two years ago I shared the first bit of writing I’d done in years with my wife who told me that she was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. To me that was a massive confidence boost and perhaps the kick up the bum that I needed to start writing more frequently. The second revolution was a technological one. Not long after I made the decision to write more I purchased my first smart phone; my faithful Samsung Apollo, an ‘entry level’ bit of kit which is still going strong. In fact I’m typing this blog on it right now…
I can’t lie to you this old phone’s very clunky and slow and running out of internal memory faster than a ZX spectrum with dementia but I write first drafts faster with one thumb than I ever did on a keyboard or with pen and paper. Doubtless some will insist this isn’t ‘proper writing’ but who cares? I’m writing for myself not them!
I have no idea if anyone will ever read what I write but (let’s be honest) of course I want to be read; that’s the whole point, I have a head full of stories and I want them to be heard. If people don’t like them it will hurt, but it’s better to have them out there for the world to see than stuck in my head vanishing with the slow creep of time.
A little while ago I was re-reading ‘The Salmon of Doubt’ a posthumous collection of works by Douglas Adams. By 2001 Adams had created two successful series of books (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently), written a number of Dr Who episodes, plotted and scripted a couple of computer games and left a vast array of journalistic gems for the world. Then very suddenly he died. He was 49.
I remember at the time Adams death felt like a kick in the chest. Like many of his readers I really felt that Douglas Adams was writing for me. We were great mates, we just hadn’t met yet. It’s clear from the snippets of the unfinished work in ‘The Salmon of Doubt’ that Adams had many fantastic stories left to tell and now they are lost. We can only hope he’s up there somewhere tapping away on his macbook creating stories that will last for eternity; but for us earth-bound souls those works are lost forever.
So my advice to you is go for it. Life is short and should not be wasted. Write, draw, dance, paint yourself pink and start a conga, whatever it is that you dream of doing, do it. You might be a lone voice yelling into the wind but maybe, just maybe, there’s someone listening.