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The big leap

When I was three years old,  someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer? A cuckoo clock! My Dad later told me that he knew then that I would be a writer.

He was right. From the age of seven  I wrote stories and I’ve never really stopped. But my educational and career path has been a little different. In my early teens I told my careers’ teacher I wanted to be a writer and the response was, “And what will you do for a living? There is no money in writing.” I believed him, changed my thinking to fit in,  did a degree in mathematics and computer science and ended up a management consultant.

And yet,  all the time,  I was writing. I did it on the side as a hobby. Something to amuse me and maybe sell the occasional self-published book.

Until a year ago,  today. Chatting to the amazing Pete Cohen,  I mentioned my desire to be a writer and he said idly (I thought), “We’ll have to see what we can do about that.”

He phoned me the next day and asked me if I’d help him by writing a few pages of introduction to a journal he was hoping to produce for Mi365. I was surprised and flattered (and frankly,  a bit starstuck because,  you know,  he’s been on TV and stuff) and, despite a few misgivings, agreed to give him a hand.

It was the start of something wonderful. In the last extraordinary,  astonishing, challenging year my eyes have been opened to a whole new world. A world in which writing is a skill which people need and will pay for; a world in which people get excited about something I’ve written; a world in which I get to do what I’ve wanted to do my whole life.

Last Monday I handed in my notice from the firm I’ve worked for for the last 12 years so that I can set myself up as a writer full time. I have no doubts about what I’m doing and I’ve never felt better in my life.

Because, finally,  if anyone asks what I do for a living, I get to answer, “I am a writer.”

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