Before the Plunge

I am as excited as I am scared. Tomorrow, I begin living my dream. I start writing my first novel.

Three months ago, I quit my job so I could commit to writing full-time in order to pursue my dream of becoming a published author. Since then, I set myself the start date of 1st September 5th September (damn cold) as the day I would begin writing. With this date in mind, I focused my planning and became more productive, scribbling out several to-do lists to best prepare myself.

Like many people, I’ve always struggled with self-confidence. Over the past few months, I’ve had up and down days: on some I really believe in myself, on others I think I’m a major idiot (more so than usual). Fortunately, as time has gone on—my plans and eagerness with it—the days of self-belief have been more numerous and have spoken more loudly than those of listening to the doubts of Major Idiot. Though, even now, as England unentertainingly struggle to score against Slovakia, I have half-hushed stabbing thoughts of you’re not ready. However, I accepted a while ago that it would be impossible for me to plan everything prior to writing. Even if I could, I believe a too-structured approach would make the writing less organic and not as enjoyable, for both myself and the (eventual) reader.

Becoming a published author has been my dream since sixteen-year-old me settled on the idea and I’ve not been able to shake it off since, even (read: especially) after entering the dreaded Real World.

I can’t entirely blame the mop-headed teenager; the bricks were already placed, he just applied the cement: writing my first 25,000 words of Sky Gods during my GCSEs, a fun idea I’ve never quite forgotten; spending weekday afternoons up at the common, walking my dogs on auto-pilot as I mentally mapped the scenes and mumbled the dialogue of several one-day-I-will-write series, including a fanciful adventure of a group of teenagers escaping an alien invasion, and another set in a dystopian near-future where select humans possessed superpowers; sitting at the kitchen table, kneeling on the carpet of my bedroom floor, or wedged into my desk, designing the front covers and writing the opening chapters to my next bestseller; a young pioneer in the self-publishing game with my hand-made novellas, complete with glued in Boots-printed photos, chronicling the early adventures of Candyfloss the hamster.

I’ve had my current idea, under the working title of Everborne, for over a year now. It sputtered its first spark last summer when I went interrailing through Europe with my girlfriend, Emily, and I’ve fuelled its flames since.

Despite this, I nearly decided against taking the plunge. After all, I’d be forfeiting an income to begin treading the unconventional, unknown path of self-supported, full-time writing, all in the hope of pursuing a dream that I’ve always inwardly (and, somewhat, ashamedly) held as childish. Also, planning, as essential as it is, can be a trap. You can get comfortable planning, especially if you’ve been at that stage for over a year. It pushes back the plunge.

But the main reason, behind any excuse or negative thought, holding me back was fear.

To start, to actually start, opens up the possibility of failure. Years of dreaming could amount to nothing. Then what?

But years of dreaming would amount to nothing if that’s all I ever did. To start, to actually start, could end with me becoming the person I’ve long dreamed of being.

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