I write because I dare to.
It’s that simple, really.
For years I had stories burning away inside of me but I never gave them the oxygen they needed to burst into life: I was too afraid.
It seems silly to say that out loud when I live in a time and a place where there really should be nothing holding me back. I know there are people all over the world who genuinely risk their lives when they put pen to paper. That is not the kind of fear that I’ve had to face, but that doesn’t make the prison I constructed in my mind any less real.
The key to my release came in the smallest of packages.
It’s something of a cliché to say that having a child has given me the freedom to let go of the fear, to focus on what really matters rather than being paralysed by the anticipation of what other people might think. But it’s true.
Quite early on, staring at that tiny ball of potential through the haze of new motherhood, I realised I was going to have to stop being such a coward. How could I honestly claim that he could be anything he wanted to be, do anything he wanted to do, whilst at the same time nurturing inside of myself a growing shadow of regret at dreams unpursued?
I also knew I couldn’t leave him. I couldn’t go back to the career that had swallowed up so much of my time and energy: however much I loved teaching, I loved this baby more. I needed to find something to do that would also allow me to spend as much time with him as possible.
And so I wrote. I had the ideas – that had never been a problem. And in between the feeding and the nappies, whilst my baby slept in the sling or cooed in his bouncer, I finally got the words on to the page. By the time he was six months old I’d finished my first novel.
That was only the beginning, of course. I have yet to crack publication, but that doesn’t matter – yet – because I’m writing. I’ve proved to myself that the world won’t fall apart if I let myself do the one thing I’ve always longed to do. In fact quite the opposite.
Writing gives me a release, a sense of purpose. It stimulates my creativity just as it gives me an outlet for it. I write every day now: whether blog posts, redrafting notes or nascent character studies. It’s just what I do.
Because I dared. And daring made me stronger.