Today’s post about something that makes my home happy is writing and taking a leap of faith. Or more honestly, lots of small steps reluctantly. I have spent my life writing. In my teens I genuinely believed it was the career path I was going to take, I wrote articles that were published on a fairly regular basis, was runner up in a national book writing competition while at secondary school and by my university years I’d even been paid for a few pieces of writing. I wound up an accountant. Not quite the career I’d thought of. In fact, almost as far from writing as you might imagine. Not much room for creative accounting!
So, a number of years back, before Daniel arrived, I went back to writing in my free time. It was cathartic. I didn’t write much but what I did write brought much happiness, and the stuff I wrote about Daniel’s diagnosis and first year in particular was really helpful for me. I kept this totally private as I was too embarrassed to share with others in case they thought it was crap and because I thought people would wonder why on earth I felt I had a place to say any of the things I wrote about, who am I that people would read this stuff?
Then I started, over 2 years ago now, posting on my Facebook about Daniel. I realised many of our friends, like we used to, didn’t really understand what Down Syndrome meant for Daniel, they asked about his therapies or progress and I found something strange happened, lots of people loved it! I’m sure I’ve had a good few friends block me from their news feed and others deleted me as a friend altogether, but there were others who asked when I’d next post as it had been a while. People who didn’t even just say they liked hearing about Daniel but they complimented my writing. I mean, every post beat the previous one as the ‘longest post you’ll ever see on Facebook ever’ so they were long and not proof read (I’ve attention problems so tend to write it all out then press post…then notice the spelling mistakes and missing words) but there were at least some people who seemed to like my writing.
Not long after this I was approached, without having submitted a CV or anything, by my accountancy institute to see if I would come on board writing materials for an audit qualification they were adding in to the professional qualification. It was a big job and I did the work over a short period of about 2 months working at night and every weekend. They then came back and asked me to help write the specimen exam for the qualification and then to join the team of case study exam testers (the final stage exam for those qualifying as an accountant).
It seemed like professional writing had just landed in my lap and I LOVED doing it. My day job then moved me to a training and technical role and I spent my day doing writing, again in a professional accounting capacity. This was the catalyst for me deciding when I went to go off on maternity leave last May to take a step of faith and apply for redundancy. I wasn’t hopeful that I’d get it but I did.
I took the first year off as if I was on maternity leave still, then in May of this year applied for a job at CCEA, the NI exam board for GCSE and A Level exams, as a resource writer for a new business related A Level. I got the job (the only non teacher or academic on the team).
In Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project she says “When I thought about why I was sometimes reluctant to push myself, I realized that it was because I was afraid of failure - but in order to have more success, I needed to be willing to accept more failure.” It was reading this book that made me think I had to take a leap with my non accountancy writing at some point and make a public blog and see what happened. I did but I couldn’t bring myself to share it with anyone other than some other writers. Time to try again. So I entered my first writing competition since I was at school about ten days ago and got runner up. My article will be published this Friday on the Green Parent website.
Then yesterday when I wanted to post about the new NIPT (Down Syndrome screening test in pregnancy) and the documentary on BBC last week about it, I knew I had too much to say for a Facebook post so blogged and posted it to my Facebook. Unbelievably I have had 490 different visitors to the post in about 20 hours.
So here I am writing again tonight - I’m taking part in a blogging challenge at the moment – and now it’s not private. I’m terrified! But I cling to the fact that writing makes me happy. Which in turn makes my home happy. Everyone has that something that makes them spark and come alive. As mums we need to make sure that we find time to pursue those things that bring us joy.
What hobbies or interests do you have that give you that fire for life, the things that make you feel alive in a way brushing up Cheerios (again) just doesn’t?