I find February to be a good time to sit down and look at seed catalogues, plan the garden, so I can plant them in March. This year, the seeds I am selecting seem to be more in my writing life, and in relation to work.
Since giving up the proper job - an amazing 5 years ago - I have found it hard to see writing as anything other than a hobby, and I have felt a bit guilty putting it ahead of the kids. Five years ago we had a dilapidated old house, two houses worth of stuff to find home for and two families worth of kids to shoehorn in. Our relationship was still quite new, and I had been used to being a working, single mother and he had been used to being a very full-time working Dad with a stay at home wife. Taking over that role - however willingly - made writing so sidelined I just felt guilty even sneaking off for an hour in the evening. After all, I wasn't a writer, I wasn't published.
That distinction seems daft now.Of course I'm a writer. Even back then, sneaking off for an hour or two still resulted in 150-200k words of fiction and poetry being written. Doing the MA, taking the time to prioritise writing so highly I put it above my family a lot of the time, made it feel more important. Writers don't have to be published to be writers, but it's something to aspire to. I did the MA not to get published, but to teach, which is my passion. Since then, the opportunity to teach has come up and I've realised that the writing itself has become more important.
One of the speakers on the MA was asked, how does anyone get published, if it's so difficult? He said, the key is determination, focus. Write, submit, write some more. Don't give up, keep working, keep submitting. Without wanting that to turn into a huge pressure, that's what I'm going to do. So I'm taking my other books to this meeting, listening to all the ideas and suggestions, promoting myself as the writer I am. I'm going to plant the seeds of a publishing career, so I have something to water and nurture. Self administered pep talk over.