This blog post is confidential. If you reveal the contents I may have to hunt you down and give you a stern telling off or, in extreme cases, a slap round the face with a wet kipper.
Only a few, essential people know and only because I had to tell them.
1. My husband and son because
a) it would be rather hard to hide the fact I spend most of my time writing.
b) I need them to listen to my ideas and read my work.
and c) so I have excuses for not doing any housework and ignoring them shamefully whenever the creative urge strikes.
2. My two best friends because
a) they spent twenty years listening to me talk about wanting to be an author.
b) they spent twenty years telling me to stop being an idiot and start writing.
and c) I wanted to avoid being called an idiot for another twenty years if possible.
3. My mum because
a) she's my mum.
b) she spent many years telling me I could be whatever I wanted to be.
and c) so i could request occasional babysitting duties.
That's it. Only five people in my life know about my secret ambition. Why have I kept it such a secret?
Well, it's always been something private, a deep, dark desire that I couldn't articulate for years for fear of being ridiculed. I've never felt comfortable talking about it and I didn't want to deal with other people's opinions.
I imagined they'd fall somewhere in between
"Ha, are you crazy? It's impossible to get published and there's no way you're talented enough. You should just give up now and save yourself the trouble."
"Have you been published yet? No? Why not?"
"Oh anyone can get published nowadays. I'm thinking of getting my epic half a million word biography of a dancing tulip published next week."
I knew it could take years to get published and I wanted to avoid being quizzed on my progress every week and feeling the weight of expectations and disappointment bearing down on me and making my own struggle even harder.
I decided I would wait to tell everyone else until I had something concrete to pass on. I looked forward to the conversation, imagining it would go something like:
"You want to be a writer? Are you mad?"
"Yes, probably but I've been perfecting my craft for a few years and I now have an agent and a three book publishing deal so nah nah na nah nah!"
I'm aware that that actual conversation may never happen. I may never get an agent or any publishing deal, let alone a three book one. Does that mean I never tell anyone else about my dream?
And is that so strange?
Surely many people keep their ambitions and dreams to themselves?
At least I've now admitted it to myself and set about trying to make it happen. That's real progress in my book!
Of course, since I began writing I've been lucky enough to join SCBWI, find a crit group and make a whole load of new friends, all of whom share my dream, all of whom understand exactly how hard it is to achieve, all of whom support me in so many ways. Having them know makes it all seem real and hearing about their successes makes it all seem possible.
P.s - this message will self destruct in 30 seconds......