Posted in Writing

Reverting to Type

English: Vector typewriter
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re all used to October being a month of change, with leaves changing colour and clocks turning back, but for me this month heralds an even  bigger transformation than usual: I’m giving up my part-time day job to write full-time.

I’m very excited at this prospect. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, when I remember being made to read to the whole of my infants’ school a story that I’d written about a witch.

I’m slightly embarrassed to have taken nearly half a century to achieve my childhood dream, but according to an informal survey I’ve just conducted, I’m actually ahead of the game. Although my friends remember their early career ambitions, few have yet to fulfil them.

Which is probably just as well, or the world would be overcrowded with ballet dancers, gymnasts, engine drivers and airline pilots. The good news is that there would also be plenty of air hostesses to look after the pilots, and enough hairdressers to keep them all well groomed.

Some of my friends’ ambitions were less predictable. Libi, for example, planned to be either a nun or a stripper, whereas Norio was torn between a fashion designer and “a digger of wells in Africa”.

Sam’s objective was admirably broad: “I wanted to be everything.” Cleverly, she has achieved her aim, at least by proxy: she became a careers advisor.

But even Sam’s ambitious plan was trumped by my friend Lucienne’s.

“I wanted to be the Queen,” she confessed. “I am very disappointed that I am merely a writer.”

Well, that’s put me in my place!

story in my exercise book fro

With thanks to everyone who took part in this survey: Jo, Liz, Jacky, 2 x Jackies, Kate, Claudia, Jade, Jo, Craig, James, 2 x Sandras, Libi, Letty, Liz, Simone, Sam, Lorraine, Norio, Sue, Charlotte, Beth, Maurice, Stephen, Cindy, Sara, Debbie, Jim, Corrina, Susannah, 2 x Louise, Beverley, plus lots of others who did go on to become writers even if it wasn’t their childhood ambition: Helena Mallett, Joanne Phillips, Catriona Troth, Lindsay Stanberry Flynn, Christine Nolfi, Linda Gillard, Bart van Goethem, Peter St John, Stuart MacAllister, Darlene Elizabeth Williams, Dinah Reed, Anna Belfrage, Caz Greenham, Bobbie Coelho, Carol Edgerley  & Alison Morton!

(This article first appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish News, October 2013)


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

12 thoughts on “Reverting to Type

  1. This is the message in bottle way of communicating, but I’m giving it a go. Not sure how I landed here, but will make the most of the post.

  2. Congratulations Debbie – like you it took me a while, but it’s better than leaving it too late. Best of luck with the new lifestyle. Look forward ot gettnig together again one of those days. A.

    1. Thanks, Carol! I reckon there must be a writing gene somewhere that we couldn’t shake off if we tried – and if we’ve got it, we all revert to type sooner or later!

    1. Thanks, Helena! It was a bit of a scary decision, but I just reached the point of “now or never” and don’t want to go to my grave knowing it was never!

  3. Congratulations, well done for following your dream! I also declared I wanted to be a writer aged 5 1/2. Of course, what I thought it meant at the time was a calligrapher – I was very proud that I had mastered all my alphabet and had been given a gold star by my teacher for writing so neatly.

      1. This gives me hope, Debbie. I have been writing my first novel since April this year, a month after I turned 48! Since September, I have been working part-time to regain more of a work/life balance, which has given me time to write, as well as regain my life. I feel so much better for it. My next goal is to be able to give up the day job 🙂 Well done for achieving your dream and giving hope to others that we can do it, no matter how old we are.

      2. Well done, Julie, that’s marvellous. I went part-time three and a half years ago to start building an author platform, find more time to write, and so on, so it’s not been speedy progress but I’ve made it. Now I just have to get on and write… no excuses left! Mind you, this is my 260th blog post since the first one I wrote the day I gave up my full-time job in January 2010!

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