You know you are a writer when…

I recently lost my job.

I suppose I didn’t technically “lose” it – I was working on a fixed term one year contract.  However, I was settled and happy where I was working, and the longer that went by without my boss mentioning the end of my contract, the more I convinced myself that it would be extended.

Sadly, those hopes came crashing down around my ears a couple of weeks ago when I was told that my contract would not be renewed.  I was very fortunate that I found a new job within a week of starting to look, but at the time, it seemed like the end of the world.  I didn’t want to leave, I had hoped to stay, I was afraid of being unemployed and I was wishing that I had prepared myself better financially over the year.

But in amongst all of that emotion, a part of my brain remained very objective and saw the possibility for a story in my situation.

“What if,” I thought.  “What if a disgruntled ex-employee accidentally stabbed her boss with a letter opener?  Or burnt down the office?”

Obviously this is fiction – I would never do anything like that in real life – I feel guilty for swatting flies and flushing spiders down the toilet.  But in amongst everything I was feeling, the comedy potential of the scenario of the ex-employee desperately trying to cover her tracks made me smile.

Equally importantly, it helped me realise that I am a writer.  I have had my fair share of tough times and upheaval this year, but in all of those low points, I have had a nugget of an idea for a story.

Most of those ideas are nothing more than a sentence in a notebook.  Some are just stored in my head.  But for all the times that I get frustrated for not finishing what I’ve started, or worse, for not starting at all; for all the times I allow myself to be ruled by my inner critic, and feel too inhibited to allow anyone else to read what I have written; for every time I have felt like I never wanted to pick up a pen again, I have this knowledge:-

I see the world from a writer’s perspective – everything has the potential to be a story.

For anyone else who is having or has had tough times, my one suggestion would be imagine that it is happening to someone else, someone entirely fictional who can do or say or react in anyway that you want them to.  If you write, you might find the potential for a story in the hard times.  If you don’t write, it may help you process your own emotion and smile in the face of adversity.

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Posted on October 8, 2013, in On writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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