If you’d asked me back in January what I would like to do more than anything else in the world, I’d have answered, “I’d like to write full time.” In a way, that’s still true, but it looks very different to how I would have initially imagined that would look. Here’s why…
I’m a paralegal, qualified to deal with matters within two laws that hold each others hands very well. I would never profess to have all the answers and most of those within the legal profession will hold their hands up to having to check from time to time. ‘Having to check’ is maybe a term I’m using incorrectly. It’s not necessarily that they’re unsure, but they look so they can go ahead and come across as real clever by quoting the law or a case on which they rely on to get their point across and appear even more clever. Bullshit often baffles brains and I admit to having considered making something up in a reply to a non-legally trained person (muggle) to see if they would challenge me or even check out my response. I’m brazen, but not that brazen. Also, I adore above nothing else being right. It’s human nature.
I have been a writer for a lot longer than I have been a paralegal and yet with writing there is no linear approach to it. Or, there can be in terms of plotting, but that makes life as dull as dish water and less creative if your character doesn’t go ahead and do something completely different to what you had planned for them. Or if your brain doesn’t produce that ‘ahh ha’ moment that will transform your manuscript from something great to something mesmerising. In short, as a writer you’re completely alone whilst you ‘gung ho’ that shit out of you and hope the readers like it. As a paralegal you don’t fucking care if they like your advice or response, you just hope they accept it and maybe say, “Thank you for your time, you clever little soul, you.”
There is also a persona thing I have going on. At this point I think my paralegal persona is beginning to drift into my writer persona. Despondency is clearly setting in. Opinion is running rife on facebook as those seek to have their claims and opinions validated are posting away and many of my connections are other writers or have a connection to the industry. Funny, those who disagree with you are more likely to comment negatively and leave you feeling more frustrated than you initially were prior to your cathartic attempt at relieving some stress on, um…Facebook, the clear and obvious choice for personal therapeutic intervention (if you didn’t pick up on that, I was being acutely sarcastic.) All of the negativity forces you to delete your post in unadulterated rage that not everyone, in fact no-one, happens to agree with you and are being rather venomous in their comments. So, obviously you delete your post and then later feel the need to state that you deleted your earlier post and the reason/s why. Only this time you are decidedly more intelligent, you add the caveat that you don’t deserve to be attacked and will NOT tolerate this behaviour for having your opinion that was probably best kept to yourself. This is akin to a dog chasing its tail around.
As a warning, I may be the person who makes you delete that initial post to begin with, or maybe I’ll be passive aggressive and post about your post? Who fucking knows? But, let’s just say I’m not feeling too pleasant. I’m like a boxer unable to fight, like a bee unable to collect honey…there is nowhere to direct my aggression usually delivered up to unsuspecting colleagues and other people who have not yet felt the wrath of my quirked brows and pursed lips in response to their stupid fucking question or request. As a writer I’ve followed a code where I don’t really express opinion, a bit like the queen but without being regal and all that jazz. My sole function since 2013 has been to make people like me and buy my book. Keep your head down and your chin up…
Of course, the screeches and screams of, “Fuck off!” still escape my mouth several times a day, but it’s just simply not enough to quell the rage inside. As a paralegal, I know unequivocally what I am doing and where to go in search of the answers if I don’t. As a writer, we’re often left to search alone in the dark or ask for help from someone who might laugh at us, like I sometimes do to the poor fellows who come in search of legal answers to things I think they ought to know. I don’t like this fragile feeling of being alone and not having all of the answers. I don’t like the anxiety of leaving all of my beautiful creations at the hands of other to poke and prod whilst silently dying inside because you must NEVER reply to a review. It’s the law. I detest that I must fiddle constantly with everything until I finally connect with my audience. I hate being the drop in the ocean.
As a writer I am vulnerable in every single way. I can’t dispute that I’d love to get my books in the hands of more readers and earn enough money from it to say to my boss, “I don’t have to be here if I don’t want, you know?” (Sorry, boss. You know I actually love you.) I still have a job that I can do from home and for that I’m extremely grateful. Not just that I have a job that I can do from home, but a job I adore.
So, ask me again, “Lucy, what would you be if you could be anything?”
Me: J.K. fucking Rowling