Having a vocation

old typewriter

I recently read this post by Sara over at Mum turned Mom. She discusses her difficulties with pronouncing to the world that she is a ‘writer’. I understand. I haven’t thought much about how I label myself in recent years, preferring to just live out each day and fulfil each role necessary (you know the score: care-giver, cook, cleaner, employee, nurse, driver, decision maker, party planner, and on, and on…) but nowadays I manage to squeeze in ‘blogger’ and ‘reader’ and ‘commentator’ too.

The problem Sara has is that she loves to write, she lives to write, but she isn’t a paid and published author. I’m the same and it got me thinking about vocation. I believe this word, this concept, has been commandeered by the careers police – those who would seek to define each person by what they do to earn their money.

I knew from an early age that I was in love with words, reading voraciously and writing for pleasure. I was steered through otherwise murky career waters by my Mum who could see what I had in me, even while I was floundering and being seduced by the idea of a Media Studies degree (pah ha ha!). I studied journalism ‘vocationally’ (at HND level) and then, disillusioned with mass market periodicals, I turned back to education and stuck my head firmly back into a *lot* more books in the shape of a four year literature degree which I loved and which I will never regret despite it doing absolutely sod all to show me which way to face as the subject of career choice once again loomed large. For me, delving into literature was like lifting a dark curtain on the rich cultural fabric of life.

At this point, I’ll throw my hands up and admit it – I’ve been a bit lazy OK? I could have done more with my life career-wise. I happen to believe that I’m as good a writer as plenty of people out there who get paid handsomely for the privilege of wearing ‘writer’ as their no.1 hat. The difference is in the drive but I still see ‘writer’ as my true vocation in life as defined in the dictionary thusly:
“an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which he or she is suited, trained, or qualified”. If you want (or are able or inclined) to earn money from this occupation then great, but if you don’t, why should that make it any less a part of who you are and for that matter, who you claim to be?

Because I was timid, crippled by self-doubt and woefully lacking in useful contacts as a very young woman, then lost in the detritus of everyday life, I never thought too long and hard about ‘making it happen’. Since that time I have been overtaken by munchkins intent on gathering up my rolling marbles, lost through a combination of childbirth and enforced custody in the padded cells of soft play, and they’ve been demanding a ransom of Peppa Pig ice lollies and Actimels in order to return them.

But finally some kind of fog is clearing. Reading and engaging with others who are pushing themselves forwards into a brave new world in which they embody their true vocation – well its opening my eyes to the possibilities.

And despite everything I have said about being a bit lazy and lacking a bit of drive, I know I can achieve great things – after all I completed a 20,000 word post-graduate dissertation on the subject of Information Overload (!) so just imagine what I could do with a subject I was truly engaged in…

 

Mama and Mored

Time to blog…

time to write

I’m not sure if I’m on my on my own here but my mind seems to have been leaping from thought to thought like a demented leprechaun lately. This is not particularly useful when you are trying to compose a blog post. Maybe this is the nature of work/life when you work part time and have a one year old baby and a four year old (both boys so no real downtime there!). It feels like I’m either thinking one thought on one subject at work or completely bamboozled at home by a s**tstorm of demands, requests and random four-year-old type queries (“where do crocodiles sleep, mummy?”). If its not that then I’m trying to figure out why I’ve got that uncomfortable niggling in the back of my mind (eg, “oh! My car insurance was due to be updated today!”, “whoops – just found a cervical smear reminder from 6 months ago”, etc.).

Then there’s the post-bedtime lull during which I’m supposed to let the dust settle and make sense of it all. This is the time when I start reading other people’s blogs searching for reading matter which I can identify with, or examine the various linky blog hops and try to figure out how to crowbar part of my life into one of them. Only last night I finally got to grips with #PoCoLo (“Post, Comment, Love”) at vevivos.com only to post my own link five minutes after the darned thing closed down. I don’t think I’ll ever be organised enough to make that one (just the 48 hour window Vicky?? ;))

The trouble is I was trained as a writer – both academically and journalistically – and, whilst I would in no way ever be able to justify referring to myself as a perfectionist, I do find myself needing to have conceived a post with a beginning, middle and end, some merit as a comment on the news/nature of life/experience as a parent etc, before I put pen to paper (or the online equivalent). I also feel the need to at least attempt to say something that hasn’t been said a million times before (or at least put a slightly different spin on it). This has become nigh on impossible in recent times, hence the great swathes of time that seem to go by between one posting and the next. Maybe this is why I’m so rubbish on Twitter – I can’t summarise a rounded thought in 140-characters – kudos to those who can!

Currently I have several half-conceived ideas on the back burner including: a ponder on the nature of ‘normal’ or acceptable living arrangements in modern day society (ie – the 2.4 kid nuclear family unit/ lone singleton/ lone parent/ lone couple etc. All a bit lonely really!); a different ponder on the joys and woes of anonymity as a writer; and a celebration of the great benefits of ‘being a bit old’.