Guest blog by Angela G Horne
Recently I had coffee with a friend, I’ll call her Jane. She had just turned thirty. When she was born, I was twenty-seven years old. I couldn’t help admiring her for her intuitive abilities and her passion for a very difficult profession: she is a highly trained actor and works for an understanding media/branding company. I mentioned that at her age I was too concerned with how my career path would look to prospective bosses and peers. I didn’t really follow my heart. I didn’t know how. I needed the reassurance of knowing my moves ten steps ahead.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself here (not a first). I did make career changes when I became disenchanted with a sector or organisation’s aims; when it became all about the money and power – when it became about what we could take rather than what we could give; who we could use instead of who we could serve for a purpose greater than ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, money and power are important. If money doesn’t flow properly through your business, it will die. If you do not have the power to persuade the right people at the right time to do the right thing, your business will die. If your business is all about you, your money, your power then, Sweetheart, your business deserves to die.
Today, I am working on my novel-memoir. The most challenging thing I have ever done. The main character came to me in a dream exactly sixteen years ago after a visit to Kew Gardens on the outskirts of London. Clara’s story has haunted me ever since. She won’t leave me alone. But, I love her. Without being dramatic, if I don’t get this book out of me soon, I will die. I’ve been pregnant with this book for far too long. My focus this summer is editing and rewriting the entire book. I’m even setting up a website soon to share the process with weekly updates for public accountability. (No. People are busy. No-one will care. Right?)
Last week I attended a talk by the author, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, about her spell-binding debut novel, Swan Song, published recently. Kelleigh wrote screenplays for fifteen years. She is a seasoned professional but it took her fourteen years to write Swan Song. And, she confessed that ninety percent of the time she did not know what she was doing. Hearing this fabulous lady speak, liberated me.
I had tried and failed to write like a banker; you have to know exactly what you are doing because millions of dollars are at stake. And, it’s not your money. Mistakes may cost you your job and your career. Writing a book meant I had to be completely rewired for creativity: screwing up daily is business as usual until one day the final word is written and then, and only then, does the book make sense. (I know, bloody nightmare.)
For the first time in my life, I have the courage to fail in public. If no-one reads my book when it’s published, that will be fine. My duty is to finish and publish the book the best way I can. However, if just one person reads the book and finds the courage to live from the heart, then the sixteen years of heartbreak to write this book would have been worth it. Hell, yes.