I started to write professionally in 2006, as a result of my experiences coping with infertility and fertility treatment (which can truly be a bit grim!). My book “Making Babies the Hard Way” was published in 2007, making me eligible to become a member of the Society of Authors – a support and resource organisation for professional writers.
As I recovered from my emotional and physical bruising, I began to write articles for national newspapers. All non-fiction contributions. Over time, I began to explore fiction writing and took courses run by Faber and Faber Academy who encouraged me to develop my creative writing and still support me in this “pause” in proceedings. The pause has been caused by my new role as a Carer for my Mum. Although she doesn’t require any physical help at the moment, she has moved into a totally new environment, away from familiar terrain and sadly, her age has also meant losing quite a few friends over the past few years.
When she moved to be close to us, I expected her to jog along with a new life, making new friends and exploring new activities whilst I carried on with my own solitary explorations. This is not been possible as she has become increasingly reliant upon my company, my decision-making and my emotional support. She has younger friends, who help out when they can, but most of the responsibility falls to me and my husband.
In one of my “down” times, I came across a Facebook page called “Writers as Carers”. As it is a secret group, I applied to join it, through Anna Ganley at Society of Authors and thankfully, was accepted. This group has become something of a lifeline for me and my fellow members as it provides a confidential forum supported by people in the same professional field.
I asked Anna how it began:
‘The SoA’s Writers as Carers Group was set up at the request of member, James Green. He feels strongly that you don’t have to stop being a writer if you start being a carer. And we agree. This group quickly gained members who also had caring responsibilities, keen to help each other carry on writing. Members support each other online in a private discussion group to share tips and advice about how they try to write in the gaps.’
James also has a lovely blog, which explains how he started to feel a need for this sort of support: http://www.societyofauthors.org/our-blog/july-blog-1
Damien Boyd-Otley, another member, adds that this group, “was designed as a way of [writers as Carers] keeping in touch, comparing notes and also doing some prose writing for our new comrades in arms and comrades in bedpans, to view and pass comment.
Certainly, it’s become a lifeline for me. I began posting, now blogging and who knows, I may return to my nascent novel very soon. The important thing for me however, is that knowing that other writers are finding it mega-tough to keep going with their work, is a comfort. It gives me permission to stop beating myself up. Once I allowed the literary whip to stop stinging, the ideas began to flow once more.