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Be My Free Therapist?

I don’t mind the weekly supermarket visit. It’s a chance to get away from my desk and focus on something other than the thoughts of a sassy teenage book character. But, in no way is it an exciting outing. I meticulously place each selected item in its rightful place in the trolley. New week, same items. I stroll slowly down the aisles occasionally spotting a new item and mulling over whether or not the kids will screw their noses up at it! To be honest, our kids are great eaters; definitely not the pickiest of the masses. But, if there is a hidden mushroom or a broccoli residue on the plates of a nameless two…then we have quite the nose turns. On the other hand, Mr 6 will whip up all of those stray mushrooms on his sister’s plate and inhale them in seconds. What 6-year-old boy picks mushrooms as his favourite food?! Mine (so proud).

The supermarket I go to has the best checkout operators. Big smiles and friendly conversations all around (despite not getting paid nearly enough I imagine). Sometimes I get a newbie asking all of those polite questions as they scan each item for the beep.

“How’s your day going?”

“Up to much today?”

“What do you do?”

“An author, wow! It must be great not having to go to work every day…”

Say what? This is a really common response I get from people when I say that I am an Author. I can see longing in people’s eyes when they hear what I do. A longing to be doing something that they love for a living. As the items pile back into the trolley I attempt to talk a little about the reality of what it is like to work from home. Distractions left right and centre, kids often home sick, and a big fat Labrador snoring heavily behind my desk! I pull my phone out of my bag, quickly glance at my bank app, and then pay for the mountain of groceries. You see, in most cases being an Author does not mean being rich! In my case, this is definitely true. I smile at the operator and wish them a good day in return for my receipt (which I immediately screw up and drop in the bin on the way out; no one needs to be reminded of how much it costs to feed a family of five!).

I always go straight into deep reflection when I talk to others about ‘what I do’. I suppose that is the reason for this blog post. Anyone who knows me well will concur that I am someone who regularly gives thanks to others and recognises the blessings in my life. It is very important to me that they know I can not achieve my goals without their support and encouragement. Therefore, I am very vocal about this as often as I can be.

Sometimes I can have very different feelings. Feelings of doubt and selfishness.

When I decided to become an Indie Author and self-publish my novels I was prepared for the emotional roller-coaster I was about to jump on. Excitement, anticipation, exhaustion, confusion, relief…the list is endless. The one thing that plays on my mind the most is judgement.

“How can she support her family?”

“She should be working a normal paid job”

“That’s a big risk for someone in her 30’s”

These statements are not from other people (although I know some people have dabbled in judging me), these are my internal thoughts of the choices I have made. It feels sad writing them down. Why am I judging myself like this? I think it is part of the commitment I have made to this journey. I want to be accountable for my choices and for my work ethic going forward. I suppose it’s like a little competition with the doubtful part of my brain. Can she succeed? Damn straight I can!

It’s 11am Tuesday morning and I am sitting here at my desk writing this because I am struggling with the next chapter of my book. Struggling to let myself write freely without fear of judgement. I am focused on those feelings of doubt instead of focusing on the smiles of the children when they read my books! You see, it is not always a cruisy ‘dream’ working from home (sometimes it is!), but mostly it is damn hard work with piles of pressure holding me to me desk chair. This is why I am always keen to share my honest thoughts with you in these blogs. Who can say ‘FREE THERAPIST’? Ha-ha.

Now I need to cement the image of those giggling reading children into my brain and get back to writing this second book for them!

Thanks for being here with me.

Claire x