If my career were an item of clothing, it would resemble a patchwork cardigan made up of opportune fabric and wool. Like many people, I have a passion for being creative, which has seen me never fully immerse myself into the world of work. I dip my toes into projects as a freelancer, and then, on days off, hatch ways to escape and become a fully-fledged writer.
I’ve always enjoyed my jobs. I love working with teenagers, youth organsiations and governments to build better quality services for young people. Whilst at work, I never feel my creative juices are slowly rotting. The money is secondary, which sees me propertyless, carless and pensionless. In their respective places are renting in shared houses, riding my bicycle through London and being fully prepared to sell oranges by the roadside in California until the day I drop dead. All because I need to give myself bursts of free time, to write.
In 2011, I wrote my first blog post. I wasn’t sure what blogs were and if they would soon be outlived by some kind of teleportation word devise. Like MP3s destroyed CDs, would blogs be worth a punt? It was on the advice of two New Yorkers who’d been blogging about the layout of babies’ bedrooms; a publisher approached them, a book was born.
So I became a blogger.
Three months in, riots kicked off across the UK. Cars were burned, shops pillaged, and the mass media were blaming young people. I couldn’t sleep. I wrote from my heart, wishing for people to be kinder to our youth. The next day, it had been shared more than a thousand times and I had news stations across the globe interviewing me. By the end of the week, I too had a book agent on the phone, and the following month – long after people forgot about the riots – I was sat in their Covent Garden offices.
Fast forward three years later, I am about to submit my first novel. As it stands, it could be rejected. Nothing with the agent is on paper; we’ve only exchanged that beautifully English ‘gentlemen’s agreement’.
After five months off editing the book, I’m now at that twitchy stage where I am running out of money and people’s beds as favours. I’m thirty-two years old, about to live in my friend’s loft, leaving my boyfriend’s parents’ home with just a suitcase each and my bicycle. But I have two novels and am pregnant with the third, this time a non-fiction.
My lifestyle has divided opinion between friends and family, but the way I see it, cars break down, new people soon move into houses emptied by divorce, death or being put on the dole, but my books will be there. Whether unpublished or in shiny paperbacks with a publisher’s stamp, it makes me happy to think I’ve made something someone can read long after my face hits the sidewalk, and the oranges are juiced under truck wheels.