The Leap into the Great Unknown

So, at 48 I’ve decided to make the great leap, to dedicate myself to pursuing a lifelong ambition which, quite simple put, is to write. I’m not fussed really, but there has been a nagging little niggle in the back of my head somewhere, scratching away like a wantaway hamster, for nearly two decades that writing, in some form or capacity, is something I’d love to do for a living.

Consequently, I have given myself two years to follow my dream (euugh! It doesn’t look any less cringeworthy written down but it is what it is). Two years to find out what I can write, what I want to write and what I am able to write to sustain my existence, and that of my poor long-suffering family.

To record my progress, my successes and failures (I’m sure there’ll be many of the latter), my thoughts and musings and my journey into my dream career, I have decided to write a blog. Now, I am 48, and while I’m not a technophobe (I can re-tune the TV and work around Xbox live issues for my eldest son) I know very little about blogging so I am hoping that I can learn as I go. Right now though, I feel like I have just wandered into Hobbycraft and everyone is looking at me, because they know. I’m both terrified and excited, but mostly terrified, like I’m queuing at Alton Towers – I just hope I don’t soil myself!

How did I get here I hear you cry? That is if anyone has wandered into my narcissistic little echo chamber for one. If you have – what happened? You are either:

a) lost

b) so very, very bored

c) one of those people who likes watching people unravel for your amusement

Either way, I don’t care. I’m not proud. If you’re here, you are very welcome. I can’t promise it’ll be entertaining but for all you c)s out there, sit back and watch me implode.

Where to start? I will fill you in with a little bit about myself, what I want to write, how I got here and where I plan to go next. If you make it to the end, just drop me a comment and I’ll mail you a Jammie Dodger. Just the one though, but if I make any money I may upgrade to a Wagon Wheel.

Wow, I’ve just worked out how to change the line height – check me out, Every day….

So, back to the main thread – if there is one! My name is Gary De Cloedt (don’t ask about the surname) and I am currently a secondary English teacher……. (I’m just waiting for the Boos and Hisses to die down). I have been teaching for 18 years and I have loved a lot about the job, but not enough for me to really push myself. I don’t want to use this blog to say too much about what I think is wrong with the education system but as my career has progressed I feel that teaching has moved away from the things which I think are most important. Enough said.

Anyway, what teaching has offered me is the license to practise a range of writing styles and forms, from pastiche to poetry, so my first challenge is to nail down what kind of writing I think I can do in the future. In fact, it is probably easier for me to start with the kind of writing I don’t enjoy so I can begin to create a list – I love lists! I read somewhere that it is important to be flexible and adaptable so hopefully, this will play into my hands. I can’t see myself enjoying straight journalism as I see myself as someone who enjoys writing with a strong voice. I am happy writing non-fiction – I think I could write good content as I am pretty adept at addressing the needs of a specific audience so that is something I am going to explore. I love poetry, but am no poet. I love writing creatively so I think that will help me write content (I’m banding that word ‘content’ about like I really know what it means and entails – I have so much to learn!). I have written a few short stories and a couple of sitcom scripts which are still in re-drafting stage after some priceless feedback from people in the industry but I feel that these are vanity projects, like writing a novel – they are things you are doing while doing your day job.

So that’s it for now. I have no idea what I want to write, what I am able to write or even if this is just a foolish mid-life crisis (albeit cheaper than a convertible), but I am going to do it anyway. Someone once said ‘it is better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done’ and even though I may well live to regret this, I am going to do it anyway. I have joined People Per Hour to see if I can get my awkward size 11s onto the slippery bottom rung of a new ladder. If I do, and it sticks, The only way is up (which is ironic really as that was Yazz’s only hit).

Jammie Dodgers arriving by second class post!

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