Ok. Enough shilly-shallying, prevaricating and procrastinating. The time has come. The moment is nigh.
As you know, I have been wittering on about my writing ambitions for a couple of years now. I bore anyone who shows even the slightest interest in my life and I think won't scoff at me. I even have my aspirations as part of my tagline on my underused twitter account. But until I actually do something about it, it will remain a pipe dream; something to while away the hours day-dreaming about, like a huge lottery win or my ideal home.
And it's not like I don't write. I have three novel manuscripts, ideas for at least two more and numerous short stories all waiting in the wings to make their nerve-wracking debut.
The trouble is, once I send them out to someone who knows their stuff, then my dream may suddenly be thrust onto life support. I know that everyone gets rejected, that it's part of the package and that I have to have a tough skin to survive. But what if I am rejected not simply because my story isn't right for that organisation or won't easily find a market. What if my writing is just plain bad?! Up goes my dream like an explosion in a match stick factory.
So yesterday I went to the Newcastle Writing Conference, designed to help new and emerging writers learn something about the tricky art of getting yourself published. I didn't know what to expect. I dressed up in case I needed to make a good impression, unnecessarily as it turned out. I found my way to the venue and made a beeline for the front row. I wasn't a front row kind of schoolgirl but now that I'm all grown up, I like to see the whites of the speakers' eyes. That way, I can forget what's going on behind me and imagine that they are delivering their talk exclusively for my benefit.
The organisers had put together a stella cast of speakers and I sat there, slightly star-struck, fascinated by the people who were already sitting where I long to be. I could have listened forever but when the day finally drew to a close and I was driving back down the A1, I gave myself a pep talk. I just have to take a deep breath and plunge into the icy waters, regardless of my fear. I must dress my manuscript in its best bib and tucker and send it off into the world to make its fortune. And I owe it to myself to do that now.
So next time I am self-indulgently boring the pants off you about my literary ambitions, you have my permission to question me on my progress and mock me mercilessly if nothing has changed. After all, dreams are all very well but if you don't chase them to within an inch of their life then is there really any point harbouring them?