For my "other job" I tutor aspiring writers to achieve their goals and dreams. This started off by accident a few years ago - as almost everything does in my world.
Strange that, I never seem to end up at the destination I set off for, even in a car. Something more interesting always seems to grab my attention and I am off...much to the irritation of people around me, and concern I suspect of people who rely on my constancy such as employers etc.
Recently a few people have asked how I ended up doing this, so I will give you a brief resume...
I started off writing short stories for magazines when I was quite young, after winning a series of competitions for young authors in the local newspaper.
The back story was that I didn't spend much time at school because of an ill mother and I had to find someway to fill the isolation - so chatting to myself on paper and writing letters became a very positive way to fill the days and deal with my grief.
The short-story work led to authoring books for years - usually in someone else's name and writing "voice" and this become quite a vital part of our income and existence when I had two small children - with or without a father depending on how my first husband felt at the time.
I have never been a person who is comfortable with centre stage, I love being the person in the background doing the "tweaking" and producing the effects, far more satisfying and long lasting. Undertaking this work allowed me to practice my art without necessarily being associated with it - useful when you don't quite know how you want to really express yourself, but don't want to be pigeon-holed.
After my marriage broke up I met up with someone who had been first of all a mentor and then a lover, who was an actor by trade. Whilst spending time waiting for him on sets, I was approached to do some filling-in writing - the words were bought by the 100s (so that is why if you ever get a letter from me you will need a ream to print it off.)
This bled into TV work in my own right, and then whilst spinning on a set one day (you have to do something to fill in the hours of waiting for the magic to be constructed! otherwise you would go mad) I was asked by a producer if I was interested in helping on a craft series they were producing. Craft was very "in"
I did and ended up working on some very interesting projects, which led me into many other areas of art, and when my children started struggling in school with basic literacy - I became involved in identifying and creating a phonics project - which I took off elsewhere and sold as a concept.
Having now lost my way totally - I was even being hired to be the "argument" in talk shows at this point - I needed to regroup and think about what I actually wanted to do - which was 9-5 and working in Law for a few years (no seriously - I REALLY did want to, that might have changed now though....!)
I couldn't give up the writing, even though I didn't have time for the craft any more and managed to carry on finding various niches for my work to find a home in - magazines again, articles, essays and complaining letters over the last year or so !!
Then about three years ago, I heard about a project for well-formed writers and went along hoping to be supported and be inspired into other genres. Well I wasn't supported, but I was inspired and not quite in the way the organisation intended I suspect.
I couldn't quite believe the cynicism I was confronted with, and blatant harvesting of ideas - some now turning up on TV without the creator's name being attached, so my suspicions were not unfounded...unfortunately.
So with a nasty taste in my mouth I sat down, analysed and identified what I would want to inspire and help me create, testing this on others, and this, along with feedback has since has grown into a series of workshops and tutorials - so much so that I really have to fight to find time to write for myself nowadays - the point of the whole exercise.
So that is why I write and why my knitting/spinning is so important to why I write.
They both are equally important to my identity and who I am.