Do you listen to your callings?
Ever since last summer when I took a creative writing course with the wonderful Alex Galviz, I’ve had this little niggle that I wanted to write a book. Not a business book. Not a self-help guide. A novel. A fictional novel.
The first exercise we went through with Alex, was to write for 8 minutes following a writing prompt. I wasn’t expecting this. My first thought was oh f**k! But I managed to focus my brain under pressure to write something. And when I read it out to the group, I noticed something really interesting. The story was something a 16 year old would have written - it was a really cute story from the point of view of a diary. The diary was sitting feeling lonely on the shelf in a shop, waiting to be bought by a young girl who would write her story in its pages.
I last wrote a creative story when I was 16, in my English GCSE class. Pretty much 25 years ago. I did French, German and Chemistry A-Levels and then went on to study Psychology for 4 years. So it was all science and research and facts and evidence. So no real opportunity for creative writing. I hadn’t written creatively for soooo long! I write so much for the ‘day job’.
I really enjoyed working with Alex and the rest of the gang over this 6 week course last summer. It unlocked something in me, which was totally dormant.
So with my diagnosis of ADHD and some wonderful medication to help me focus my thoughts, I’ve started writing regularly on here. And I’m no longer afraid of what people might think of me. Because I’m now so much more comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am now and why I do (and have done) the things I do (did).
My plan was to write pieces to help people. People like me who have not really understood themselves. And help them be more of themselves.
However, something really funny happened a couple of months ago. We were watching a movie when I needed to pop to the loo, so I paused it and jumped up. As soon as my fingers touched the door handle I got this weird thunderclap of an idea. I have no idea where it came from. But an awesome (if I do say so myself) idea for a novel. I mentioned this to James and he smiled at me.
But this idea wouldn’t go away. It kept popping up. So I thought I should explore this.
Those who know me are now now rolling their eyes. Here she goes again with yet another business idea. She now wants to be the next Jilly Cooper (did I mention the novel may be a little on the saucy side?). But no, this is not the case. This is not about reinventing myself as an author, or another business idea. This is about the journey, of using my imagination and creativity outside of my work. Of learning how to write a work of fiction. Of exploring this side of me. And finding joy in the journey. And getting to know my characters. This is not about creating a book. I want to savour this process.
I now have a hobby - writing my book.
I spent lots of yesterday planning the plot, creating the characters and devising the timeline of events. It’s so exciting. I’ve approached this project the same way I approach creating an assessment centre, a training course or leadership development programme, with a master spreadsheet!
I’ve mapped out the needs, personality types, archetypes and back-stories of all the characters and detailed the transformational journey they will go on. I’ve thought through the power dynamics and changing relationships (well, I am a psychologist and this shit fascinates me!). And now I have a really exciting plan.
I’ve given myself a year to write it, just a little bit every day or so. No pressure at all. Just for fun.
I’m still totally baffled where this idea came from. I love reading, I devour books, both fiction and non-fiction and I still read to my 11-year-old son for at least 30 mins every night. It’s our thing.
Perhaps this was a message from my inner mentor, my inner wise guide? A message from my heart? And I’m so excited to be following this totally unexpected calling. And seeing what happens.
Do you listen to the messages you receive? Are you wanting to explore your callings further?
I’d love to hear about them.