Thursday, 9 April 2009

I am out of work but I am glad it’s the Easter break. I’m trying to be a journalist so my days are spent telephoning people in an effort to get interviews for stories I’m writing. A holiday for them is one for me too.

Being out of work is not so stressful. At least it’s not as stressful as it was when, last December, I was informed that my job was being made redundant. Then, I was arriving home at midday and climbing into bed in despair. Then one day, about a month ago, I decided that I would try to be a journalist, and everything changed.

It was a key shift in perceptual modes, from a place where the future was largely downside to a different place with a lot of things to feel good about.

Of course getting a generous severance payment from my employer did not hurt my mood.

But the big contributor to my current sense of wellbeing was the knowledge that being a writer was a distinct possibility - given time to make enough mistakes to be able to learn a few useful things about the job.

I started straight away, within days in fact. The first story was rejected when I sent it into a major metropolitan daily on spec. The second story fell equally flat. In fact I didn’t even bother telephoning to find out how they liked it. I did something else - I enrolled in a course.

Today the course finished. It was a five-week course comprising two-hour sessions on Thursdays and I enjoyed it immensely. I learned a bunch of good stuff and got to socialise with a group of people with similar aspirations to mine.

Finding community is no small thing. One of the reasons I used to climb into bed in the middle of the day was because I felt abandoned, and I felt that nobody was looking out for me. I was alone. It hurt. Now, I know there are others out there with a common basis for hope. As a result of this success, I’ve already enrolled in a second writing course and paid the due.

It might take some time before you see my name on a regular basis in magazines and newspapers, but it will happen. I’m as sure of it as I’ve been of anything.

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