Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Great Big Onion

"It's great to see what you're doing Toni, but I don't think you're quite there yet."  So spoke a friend and mentor a few months ago.  At the time I wasn't sure what he was going on about but I kept it in the memory bank as he's one of those sorts that has incredible perception, great foresight and some very handy hindsight based on many years of coaching and listening to people.

And he is right.  The past few years have been interesting times indeed and the path I've taken hasn't been entirely straight forward.  When I first left Microsoft I embraced the freedom of freelancing but a lot of what I did was not unsimilar to the job I had left behind.  Then I had a bit of a wobble that came in part from missing working with others and in part from worrying about nursery fees, and so I returned to working for someone else.  And then I missed the freedom that comes from being your own boss....and went freelance again which my husband greeted with outward understanding and good humour as he internally suppressed a howl of "would you please make up your mind woman!!".  Difference is, that on my return to freelancing I decided that I would do the thing I really wanted to do: write.  And I found that people liked my writing, and would pay me to do it, and I could make a living out of it.

Photo credit: 9gag.com
So that's it, isn't it?  Well no, as my mentor so astutely observes, I'm still on a bit of a path as it goes, gradually peeling away layers.  The writing started off with technical writing, marketing, advertising copy and case studies.  This has given way to helping others to blog and find their voices, creating content together that speaks to their personal opinions and feelings and working with people I feel a connection with.  It's collaborative work and there's something very fulfilling and interesting in helping another person to express themselves.  Along the way I have published my first book, and my first story for children is about to be published.  I am becoming less 'freelancer' and more 'writer' and with each layer that peels away is an excitement and trepidation, some nervous energy and a slightly sick feeling in my stomach.  Could I do it?  Can I do it?  Where will it lead?

I could just chase the money, I could just be content with things as they are, but my need to do it comes from what you find when you go through the mess and tears that come from peeling an onion: the heart.

Soundtrack: The Onion Song - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell


  1. Life is hard when the path ahead of you isn't straight and at time I worry about what is ahead but equally I turn that worry into something positive and think 'I've no idea what is ahead and that's exciting'!

    1. Definitely with you on that Fiona, you remind me that being positive is a conscious decision :)