I sat back and took a sip of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and smiled at my best friend. I knew we were both having the same thought: this is our most precious time of the week (sorry Husbands), Karen and Emma time. The time when the world stands still, the time when we share our inner most thoughts – often evil ones, the time when we laugh so loud people stare, the time when we talk about serious stuff, the time when we talk about nonsense. (A time my husband considers as therapeutic – and invariably less expensive! – as any of the ‘treatments’ I indulge in.)
We catch up on each other’s lives, craving delicious detail after not seeing each other for three weeks (a time span we both consider far too long; and a time span that puts our emotional health at risk: confirmed with the sharing of two melt-downs – one each).
‘How’s the writing going?’ asks my ever supportive friend.
‘I had a guest post published on Mr Smiley’s blog last week’ I say happily. ‘I love it in the personal development world, everyone gives you compliments and you come away feeling amazing.’
‘They can be sooo serious though can’t they,’ says Emma. She is not a personal development junkie like me, I know she sometimes has to resist rolling her eyes at my latest treatment or positive thinking crush – sometimes she doesn’t catch her eyes in time, which always amuses us.
We go off on a tangent, laughing at the…well, let’s keep our evil thoughts to ourselves. Not Mr Smiley though, he is lovely and warm and funny and even recognises sarcasm.
‘And I’ve entered a writing competition. Do you remember last time I saw you, you were reading a copy of Stylist when I arrived? And almost in passing I said to you I wonder if I could write for them? Anyway, I forgot all about the conversation, then a few days later I saw a writing competition for them. Spooky or what?’
‘It’s a sign,’ proclaims Emma, as any good best friend would (and no eye rolling in sight).
‘And I spoke to another lady about some copywriting work and I’ve done some work for James (or Toy Boy to you); and I contacted Action for M.E. to see if there were any opportunities to write for their magazine again – they’re going to get back to me after their next editorial meeting.’
‘You’ve done loads,’ she observes, excited for me. I can almost see the pompoms in her hand.
‘Oh and I nearly forgot, I’ve got a piece being published on a new travel website.
‘You’ve achieved more than me in the last couple of weeks,’ she teases.
We both go quiet for a moment; we both understand the significance of what she has just said.
‘When I think back to when you started writing Sofa and the City, you are in such a different place.’
Sometimes it takes a best friend and a glass of wine to truly realise how far you have come: I knew I was making progress with my writing goals, but it wasn’t until I stopped and summarised it to Emma, I realised how much I have done in the last few weeks.
There is a lot of feeling the fear and doing it anyway mind; the self doubts of not being good enough still swirl round my head, sometimes they even stomp, but I don’t let them stop me from pressing send (thank God I pitch from the privacy of a lap-top and it doesn’t involve some X Factor style audition). And I know I need to be zealous with the send button – people aren’t going to stumble across me on my purple sofa and offer me writing opportunities; they have to know I exist.
So I am putting myself out there as a writer; putting myself out there as available; putting myself out there because I know I have to.
I tell you, reinvention is scary – but it is also exciting. Every time I press send, I increase my confidence. Every time I write for someone else, I improve my writing. And every time I put something out into the universe, I increase my chances of turning this dream into a reality.
So universe, do your thing…I know you can’t say yes to everything, but you could say yes to somethings (notice how I am being greedy and going for the plural) – you can start with a writing competition, if you like.