Saturday, January 21, 2017

Living the dream With Parry Hotter And The Cheese Sandwich

Tools of the trade in soft focus
I watched some You Tube videos yesterday about having the courage to do what you really want to do in life. There was a great quote from The Minimalists along the lines of: Most people spend their lives working at things they don't enjoy to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like.

I'm way ahead of them in that I've stopped buying things I don't need and I do like all the people in my life. I also enjoy what I do but there needs to be some fine tuning - i.e. stop working for one organization that pays peanuts. (I didn't realize that they paid so much less than all the other similar organizations until I was in too deep to pull out without upsetting a lot of people that I didn't want to upset. Sorry if that's cryptic but one has to be careful not to burn bridges too early in the game.)

So while I don't want to give up what I do entirely, I want to make big changes. And of course I want to be a full time writer - who doesn't? For years I wanted to write Heidi, but it had already been done. Now of course I want to have written Harry Potter - who doesn't? Alas and alack that too has been done.

On the other hand, there are half a dozen HP rip-offs that are also successful: Charlie Bones, Percy Jackson, Septimus Heap, etc... And other epic quests involving parallel worlds like Philip Pullman's Northern Lights Trilogy. However, I don't want to jump onto the epic-quest-in-a-parallel-world band wagon.

DD and I lie in bed trying to think of a theme that I could develop into a great novel. She keeps suggesting witches. I keep telling her that witches, wizards, fairies and princesses have been done to death so they're out. I tell her that the subject must be something I'm passionate about so trains and mountain climbing, for example, wouldn't be appropriate for me. Or animals - I don't do animals.

"What am I passionate about?" I muse. "Sandwiches," replies DD without hesitation. Hmmm Parry Hotter and the Cheese Sandwich? I don't think so.

I've not given up dreaming and thinking and planning. The gurus on You Tube say to think big. You can have anything you want if you just tell The Universe (and do it of course). Marissa Peer is one of my favourites. She says be precise because you get exactly what you ask for. Her example is not to say you want a week off work and to be left alone. Do this and you'll wake up with flu. Punkt! A week off work and no one will come near you.

So I'm planning my next move and I'm thinking big. Very big. I'm thinking something along the lines of The Bible but without all the subsequent carnage, wars, hatred and terrorism. It starts with the creation of course and ends with peace and love throughout the world amongst vegan humankind and all the animals who roam therein. Oh, I forgot I don't do animals. Back to the drawing board.

There is a risk factor. You give up your peanut paying job to follow the dream and all those life-coaches and gurus egg you on to have the courage, seize the day, etc, etc. Meanwhile that crappy job brought in just enough to see you through the month with the mortgage paid. And of course those cheerleaders lose nothing if you fail.

There's some necessary selfishness involved too. As one astute comment in the Daily Mail Online put it, after a 'Pursue Happiness' type article, someone still has to clean the public toilets and fix the plumbing. We can't all be living the dream. In order to live your dream a lot of people have to be willing to work for your comfort.

So if I can find the courage, square it with my conscience, pay the bills, and find my passion.... I'll be sharpening my pencils shortly.


  1. I sympathize and empathize! Being off work at the moment I feel as though I should be writing that great novel - but so far a start has eluded me. I think if we really have something to say we will find a way no matter what. You of course have a child to care for and are even more restricted - I have no such excuse!
    P.D. James, the late mystery writer first started writing in her 40's - very early in the morning before her family awoke and she had to attend to them and then leave for her full-time job. Other writers stick to a work count or a certain number of hours per day - and they simply write whatever comes to mind and apparently the act itself leads to a result - a short story, a novel, or simply an idea to flow-up. I am psyching myself up to follow this advice - easier for me as I am a morning person - although at the moment I think I am flitting between too many different ideas - perhaps the simple act of writing something will help me to gather my thoughts and come up with one decent, and original, plot!
    Good luck to you!

  2. When I wrote my whole IVF story it came to over 100.000 words and I was writing about 1,000 per day. I was passionate about it and of course I knew the plot. However, I wasn't working then either and I wrote most if it before DD was born.

    1. I think that must be the true key - writing about something we are passionate about - and it would then follow that we need to pass along this passion and that inspires the actual writing.

  3. Can't wait until the pencils are sharpened and looking forward to reading about how you get on (and the finished work, of course, too) xx

  4. To me you are someone with courage who has chased their dream and caught it - your daughter. Getting to that point wasn't easy. So clearly you have that courage. I think we lose ourselves a little in parenting. So much of this resonates (also been watching the Minimalists). Good luck with your quest, I think it's closer than you think

  5. Thank you, I hope you are right. I'm so ready to be stretching my wings again.