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  • Alan Ward

Leaving work to write

Throughout my twenties I've dedicated myself to work, and before the year is out I'll turn 30. Since graduating, I've worked in marketing jobs in the arts and education sectors in London – working my way from unglamorous assistant into positions of significant responsibility (for the record, still unglamorous). I've many writing ideas I'd like to breathe some life into and some key projects I want to finish, and working full-time won't allow me to do that.

That's not to say that a large part of my career to date hasn't been creative. There's been lots of writing: adverts, articles, web page text, leaflets, flyers, brochures, guidelines, letters and job descriptions. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of words I've written in emails. As I've become more experienced in my field I've taken on more responsibility. I've overseen marketing campaigns, launched brands and managed staff to do the same. I've spent more time than I care to think about wading knee deep in HTML, databases and spreadsheets. As much as I love all that (and I'm not being sarcastic here, I really do enjoy a well constructed Excel formula), I'm not going to suddenly start finding the time to write around a full-time job and demanding workload. So now I am making a change.

Freeing up the time and headspace work takes up, I'll write. It's not much more complicated than that. In particular I'd like to finish a novel I started writing towards the end of uni. I've had a few spurts of progress with it over the years, but work and life have always got in the way. As well as that, there are all the other ideas and half-written stories floating around in my head and on my computer hard drive I'd like to do something with.

My hope is that, for a while, I can find a new routine that dedicates time to writing. It's my intention to treat writing like a job itself. The most important thing for me is to finish some projects to the highest standard I am able. I'm also open to the other possibilities offered by not working: opportunities to learn about writing, to travel, and generally broaden my horizons. I've never had a gap year, so this will be a bit like that.

I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to do this, and I wouldn't be able to without the support of the people around me and the kind of savings a twenty-something puts away in the hope they might one day own property. That plan is on hold for a while.

We'll see how it turns out. You'll know I've failed miserably if you're reading this final dusty blog post in the internet archive in the year 2029. Thanks again for being one of my readers – that you've made it the end of the post means a great deal to me. I'll say my goodbyes now, in case this is the last I ever write...

The desk at work I am leaving behind.
This is the desk I'm leaving behind – to be replaced by my dining table, a makeshift study in the spare room and coffee shops.

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