Follow the Literary Brick Road

Somewhere in this big wide world of words I have lost my way. I am nearly 30 and I haven’t finished my novel let alone had it published (after all, that’s the goal of every writer – isn’t it?).

As a young undergraduate back in 2004 I immersed myself in this fantastic place where like-minded people sat and indulged themselves in something called creative writing. Let’s call this place Kansas.

Many people close to me classed this “phase” of mine as something I was doing to merely to occupy my time until real life started. I knew differently though. I knew this was the beginning of who I would become.

But it turned out this beginning was a false start. The stories I began to write starting collecting dust on my desk and hid underneath rings of tea stains from the many cups of well stewed brew I lived on. It seemed no matter how much I clicked books together three times I could not find my way back to Kansas.

Instead I started to make a name for myself in the daunting world of journalism and it wasn’t long before I realised it wouldn’t be a bad career move to make if only to pay the bills while I worked on that elusive first novel.

Now before I continue there is something you need to understand about me – I don’t like doing things half-heatedly. I am an all-or-nothing type of person and it drives my husband mad. But I have never seen the point in doing something if you are not going to give your all. This is how I ended up engulfed in papers and deadlines in the newsroom.

There’s a lot more involved with becoming a reporter than most people think. For a start you need enough determination to fill a mass of sky-scrapers, followed by a pinch of talent and a grain of luck. Then there is this examining body called the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) who give you a nice qualification if you prove your worth. It also makes you aware of the important stuff such of media law, libel and defamation. It is hard graft.

So you can see I had my hands full and couldn’t possibly find time to write anything extra. This folks is the first excuse of many as to why I haven’t written creatively since leaving university.

I like to think I’ve worked hard at my job and it remained the number one most important thing in my life until the first born came along in 2013, followed by the second in 2014. And then things really started to slow down. The “having babies” excuse however is way down at number four. Getting married and buying a house come in at second and third.

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I am still proud of my achievements as a journalist and I don’t intend to give up my newshound lead just yet – there’s still plenty of juicy stories for me to sniff out before I retire – but being at home with the little chaps has made me restless. It turns out that my two beautiful boys have saved me and brought me back to my senses. I will write again and I will write for them.

It won’t be easy, that much I know, and even as I type this my eldest, at two-and-a-half, is standing next to me shouting “bang bang” while hitting the laptop with a knock-off plastic Scooby-Doo toy. So with the stench of a stinky nappy starting to make its way up my nostrils (is it wrong that I could tell you which one the fragrance belongs to?) it’s time to bring this blog entry to an end.

With my 30th approaching (August) it’s time to get serious. So what if I haven’t written and published that novel yet. I will take it off my “things to do before I’m 30” list and add it to my “things I will do in my 30th year” list instead.

Forget the Wizard of Oz, I never needed him anyway. It turns out I was in Kansas all along.

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About Donna-Louise Bishop

I'm a writer, freelance reporter, creative writing tutor, and blogger, living in the beautiful county of Norfolk UK. In my spare time I am also a wife, a mother to three boys, and a human washing machine.
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6 Responses to Follow the Literary Brick Road

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