I'm sitting in front of my computer this morning, thinking I should probably get some work done. Except, I'm not in the office. I'm at home in my living room. Yes I finally did it. I left my job and career in accounting to become a writer. I had handed in my notice a few weeks ago, but the enormity of what I was getting myself into didn't sink in at the time. Now I have been without the secure structure of a 9 - 5 job for a week, and it's finally beginning to sink in! It's exciting but very scary. I realise that success in my career depends completely on me now, so I had better deliver. It's scary also because the security of the monthly paycheck is gone. I'm so blessed to have hubby and my family there to support me while I find my feet. Otherwise it would have been a much bigger risk to take.
I was going to put up this post last weekend, but I came down with a flu. Perfect timing, I didn't have to go to the office anymore so I could stay at home for five days fighting the flu virus - a parting present from the City of London. I had made plans to launch into my new career with so much vigour, instead I was coughing and sneezing and feeling sorry for myself. So last week didn't exactly go as planned. On Thursday, I started feeling much better so I finally ventured out of my house. And I realised that I was now free. Free from the straight-jacket of the corporate world. Free from working myself hard to meet another person's targets. Free from the monotony of the j-o-b. Free from office politics and power struggles. I came up with a list of things I won't miss about my former career path, and some thing I would miss.
What I now miss:
1) The regular paycheck, knowing I would get paid as long as I was in the office that month
2) The funny banter of my colleagues, their jokes and grumbling.
3) My former boss, she's a really lovely person, so warm and kind.
4) Meeting up with my friend in St Pauls for lunch. On nice days we used to go to the cathedral gardens and sit on the benches gisting our lunch hour away.
5) Exchanging emails with my friend, planning our weekends and meetings after work
6) My morning newspaper - free Metro!
7) My evening newspapers - free London Lite and thelondonpaper
8) The Krispy Kreme shop just outside the station where I used to work
9) The whole London vibe, you just feel like you are in touch with what's happening
What I most def don't miss:
1) Waking up in the morning to the annoying ringing alarm at 6.00am
2) Running to the train station in uncomfortable "office" shoes
3) Getting the train and having to stand all the way into Central London - just awful
4) Sharing a carriage with people coughing sneezing and spreading their germs
5) Getting to work already tired before the day has even begun
6) Having a limited lunch time break
7) Getting back home in the evening absolutely tired
8) Paying one-third of my salary to the railway company for the dodgy service
9) Tied down to spending that rigid block of my time in the office
10) Spending most of my Saturday cleaning and cooking because I haven't had time during the week.
(There's more but I'll leave it as that for now)
In the light of this new path I'm now on, I've been looking for networking opportunities and events. Yesterday afternoon, I attended the London Literature Festival at the South Bank Centre. It's a series of literary events spread out over two weeks but yesterday's event was dedicated to African writers. The first part was specifically about three Nigerian writers: Biyi Bandele, Helen Oyeyemi and Helon Habila. All three of them read from their books and discussed their work. They were interviewed and we were able to ask questions and stuff like that. It was cool. The second event was the Caine Prize 2007 Readings, where the African writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize came up to read their works and were interviewed by Zena Saro-Wiwa. Some of the works read were so inspiring and intriguing. I have three books on my mind that I'm definitely going to buy. The Caine Prize winner will be announced later today.
I met two Nigerian girls there and after the first session, we talked and went off to have a chat over drinks. One of them is a fashion journalist, and they are both writers so it was good talking to them. We had fun talking about works we had read, analysing different styles of writing, Nollywood movies and so on. After the events, we swapped details and I intend to keep in touch with them. I told them I was a blogger and gave them my other blog address so they might read this (hi girls!) In the meantime, it felt so good to be among like-minded people. That just inspired me. I've got ideas for my book now so I feel more confident about becoming a writer.
I still have one or two things to work out though. The options and opportunities are so vast, it is a bit overwhelming. I'm thinking I might take up some freelance work because I want to build up a portfolio of written published work. I want to look into writing articles for magazines and stuff like that. I could do also some short stories before attempting a full-length novel, and I might look into writing for children. In any case, there are so many opportunities, and at the moment I'm taking one step at a time and seeing where each step will take me to in future.
For now I'm off to start my day. I'm going to register for a creative writing course to help me brush up my skills and develop my ideas further. And then I'm meeting up with my friend that I haven't seen in the flesh since 1998 or is it 1997. Thank God for hi5 and Facebook that helped us to keep in touch again.
I'll be back...