1981 was the year I finally realised what I wanted to do: write.
Except, I didn’t.
1981, the era of mullets, mod music and the dying light of punk and I wanted to write.
Except I didn’t.
I went down other avenues …
The reason I’m penning this is because I read the other day an interesting article saying that if you think back to the age of 16 – which is easy if you’re 17 or 18 (and still relatively easy for me at 51) you should recall what you wanted to do.
I recall it clearly.
I wanted to be a writer.
Thorne in Doncaster hadn’t much of a literary track record though.
I know Roy Clarke was from near there and he set Open All Hours in Balby in Doncaster, which was allegedly based on a small independent shop called “Kitching’s” on South End in Thorne, but I think that was the sum total of this mining town’s literary heritage.
I might be wrong of course.
But I wanted to write at 16.
I didn’t face Billy Elliot derision at all; I think we all wanted to escape life there and by and large my peer group have.
Two years of A levels with Grade A in Literature saw me head up the A1 and A19 to Sunderland, to study English at degree level.
Reading you see was my passion and studying 20 Shakespeare plays in Year 2 (one a fortnight) felt perfectly logical and proper.
I enjoyed it.
This though is where in 1986 I forgot what I wanted to do in 1981, and chose a future in teaching.
Teaching English of course.
Taught in Leeds, Oldham, Manchester, Bolton, Stoke, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Norfolk and Suffolk until I decided to jack it in, 33 years after that 1981 epiphany.
Tony Robbins, who I think penned the article that I read, was spot on, you know.
You and I need to hark back to what we really wanted to do at 16.
I wanted to write.
Think back and then act.
I’ve come close to realising the ambition a few times.
When I worked in a local estate agency, I did a Roy Keane who resigned by text to Elliot Short at Sunderland telling the owner “I resign, I’m going to become a writer.”
Another false dawn.
I bottled it.
After attempting my own estate agency, listing 13 properties in 8 months, in a partnership, I was lured back to that life sentence of teaching, ignoring that saying to never go back.
I went back to teach – but then left.
Left with a determination to relive those Harrington and Doc Marten days of 1981 and do what I’d wanted to do for 35 years: write.
It’s been tough starting out but this time, unlike the two estate agency jobs and teaching, it’s making me very happy.
There’s this bullshit quotation thrown around online along the lines of “Do Something You Love and You Won’t Have to Work a Day in Your Life.”
Except it’s not bullshit.
I love what I do.
I love to write.
The best thing of all, apart from loving it and realising that dream from 35 years ago, is that this business Get Pro Copy, a writing and social media marketing one man band, is becoming successful.
Its success is down to hard work, perseverance on my part, and the sterling support of my wife, children and friends who’ve supported me, but mainly because I’m doing what I should have done at 16: write.