Sunday, October 01, 2006

The big change

Last week I heard that my firm was making some changes, and my mind started racing about whether it was time for me to make some changes too. Forty eight hours before I had been thinking about my future and sharing my thoughts on this blog. My Strategy Director job was a good role; creative, interesting, challenging, and I had loved it, been very proud of my work. But since the bombs, things had become different for me.

Now, here I was, absolutely hating the tube journey into work, stressed and frazzled and unhealthy from trying to do more than one job - my office job, and all the other, voluntary, unpaid stuff I do connected with 7/7 and PTSD - and I knew I was becoming desperate to slow down, and to write more. Writing is the thing that heals me and it is now what I enjoy most. I came late to it, but it has become increasingly important to me. It feels as if it is what I was made for. So it felt to me as if the timing was extraordinary, and my heart started pounding faster. Sometimes in life, you can just feel it - the fork in the road, the chance of change. The faint breeze of the brush of the wings against your cheek. Vertigo.

I took a deep breath, and I talked my boss if he could have a quick catch up with me, and I asked him to find out what would happen if I left the team.

I did the sums. I talked to J. I barely slept for a few nights, thinking about it, mind fizzing as the thoughts, worries and dreams crowded in, babbling at me. When it was light, I tried to quieten my mind and breathe steadily, to let the chemical reactions of the euphoria and the fear pass through my blood, ignored, and to go inwards. Drop a questioning coin into the well inside ( sorry about the flowery language, this is the meditative technique I use when I am 'sounding myself out').

Straight down, the penny dropped, a long way, and made a reassuring splash into sweet water.

The next day, I went in, and we talked about terms. Then I went out and got drunk with my boss and my account manager in a Soho restuarant. I took Friday off. I sat in, and thought instead. With a hangover. Trying on my new life for size. I went out to see a film. Thought some more. Managed to get hold of my family, who had been on holiday, and talk to them. They were delighted, excited for me.

And so here I am, telling you all, on a cool autumnal early morning. I look out of my study window and I can see the morning sun coming out from behind a cloud. A gentle wind moving the ivy in the yard. Light starting to stream into the raggedy garden.

A new start, and time to come out of the tunnel, at last. A gift, one that I am glad to grab with both of my hands.

I changed my blog profile. It doesn't read ''Strategy Director'' anymore; it now reads ''Writer''. (I need some new business cards.) I am still a little nervous, but I am happy.

Thank you, all of you, for helping me get this far. You'll be hearing a lot more from me.


Anonymous joty said...

Wow! Well done for having the courage to follow your heart, a brave step! J sounds like a good man to have supporting you. Fascinating how the winds of fate, kismet, how Providence bounced you into this new phase. Looking forward to following your journey through the ups and down, triumphs and challenges of your new life. I'd be interested to hear how family and friends take it as your decision will challenge their life choices, in my experience. Loved the Shanteram style purple prose myself! "It felt like the timing was extraordinary, and my heart started pounding faster. Sometimes in life, you can just feel it - the fork in the road, the chance of change. The faint breeze of the brush of the wings against your cheek. Vertigo." And I am fascinated by your meditative technique for 'sounding myself out'!



loved the recipe we'll try it soon...

October 01, 2006 8:56 am  
Blogger Holly Finch said...

Hurrah!....I have never been much of a believer in fate...but the cogs of life seem to be turning in your direction for once, and isn't it about time?!

Deep deep down, I don't think there was any decision to make, I think you knew...we all diid.

Go write girl!

October 01, 2006 9:12 am  
Blogger Suzy said...

Wow that's brilliant! How exciting :-D

October 01, 2006 9:36 am  
Blogger Cllr Graham Smith said...

Well done you for having the courage to take this step!

Your blog has got better and better as you have apparently become more "settled" into the journalistic writing style (for want of a better way of saying whilst I have always thought you had something interesting to say, my enjoyment of reading your blog has greatly increased over time). I do hope you will continue to find time to blog.

P.S. I don't know how many people use myblogines, but the new sqweeze feature in mybloglines doesn't display the verification graphic, so posting to blogger from my Microsoft Mobile phone means now I have to manually edit the URL to see the graphic :-(

October 01, 2006 9:42 am  
Anonymous Linda said...

Excellent. As I thoughtyou were a 'writer' anyway, it will be great to see your career soar. Looking forward to seeing your byline all over the place.

October 01, 2006 9:55 am  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Another "WOW!" as that seems like the only reaction. That's a massive step. I'm sure it was the right decision and that it will work out really well for you.

I wish you the best of luck and look forward to reading the results of your new found freedom.


October 01, 2006 10:34 am  
Anonymous sabele said...

Excellent news - looking forward to reading more from you. This was a big step for you, but in the right direction, so well done for having the bottle!

PS - I'm away to get the ingredients for that recipe, something about it just makes you want to try it.

October 01, 2006 12:01 pm  
Anonymous Justin said...

Salut! You've earned it.

October 01, 2006 12:10 pm  
Blogger Liadnan said...

Many congrats and best of luck

October 01, 2006 12:26 pm  
Anonymous Graham O'Mara said...

look forward to getting you first book :)

Can I get a signed copy :) :)

Well done, and, not really suprised - you have become too good at what you are doing on here, and elsewhere, to be kept as a very talented "might be"

Best wishes - congrats - good luck

October 01, 2006 1:03 pm  
Anonymous NotSaussure said...

Well done, Rachel! Since it feels so right to you, I'm sure you've done the right thing; I'm a great believer in going by gut feelings at times because when you examine them closely, they're usually based on very sound reasoning that you just haven't articulated.

You've certainly got the talent and determination to make it work.

October 01, 2006 1:18 pm  
Anonymous Beth said...

Congratulations!! I hope the new chapter of your life brings allthe happiness you deserve!

October 01, 2006 2:16 pm  
Blogger No. 78 said...

The first step is always the hardest. A whole new world, a new life and experiences are awaiting you.
My old boss always said, "it's not the no-how, it's the do-how that counts"
Go do it!

October 01, 2006 4:42 pm  
Blogger steve said...

Another "WOW" over here! I'm sure you will do great, it was brave to make that decision, but I'm sure you know it was the right one.

Look forward to reading much much more.


October 01, 2006 6:21 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

That's great news Rachel :). Well done for going after what you really want.

October 01, 2006 7:56 pm  
Blogger L'√©cossaise said...

I have been enjoying reading this blog for such a long time now and I'm just delighted for you. May all of life's goodness inspire you on the journey ahead.

October 01, 2006 8:17 pm  
Anonymous Roger Whittaker said...

Congratulations and good luck.

October 01, 2006 8:59 pm  
Blogger Cheryl said...


Stuck for words - just gone all smiley for you.

October 01, 2006 9:41 pm  
Anonymous Ally said...

Serendipity. Good luck!

October 01, 2006 10:06 pm  
Anonymous Rachel's Dad said...

Hello Rachel,

Just been catching up on your blog comments for today. In fact I may have been one of the first to read the original announcement this morning. What a wonderful response you have had from all your grateful supporters. You must be feeling so very affirmed.

Mum and I are so pleased for you. We never had any doubt that your literary energies would eventually get the better of you. Ever since we dipped you in Wordsworth's well in Dove Cottage at the age of six months you were destined to tell it as it was. You have great gifts of language and I'm sure you will relish the opportunity to put it to good use.

When do you finish at work? Come and see us (or we could come down to see you). Mum and I would be thrilled.

Lots of love and congratulations on coming out of the tunnel singing a ballad 'lyrical' or otherwise!

Much love


October 02, 2006 8:44 am  
Blogger Geoff said...

Well done Rachel a brave decision and one I'm sure you will never regret.

October 02, 2006 10:42 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Good Luck Rachel. I'm pleased that something so positive could be born in such a negative day. Your writing has been an inspiration to me and I hope that one day I will have the courage to do the same.

Rachel x

October 02, 2006 11:05 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you so much everybody for your wonderful messages of support, by phone, email anbd comment. I am very excited about the future, am working on a book, am in contact with some editors about features, and will be asking for advice from those of you who are already pro writers as to what the next best steps are.

Bought the Writers and Artists yearbook, and am up to my ears in old-job-related admin right now. Once that is out of the way, I can get on with the book.

I can't wait!

October 02, 2006 11:57 am  
Blogger leon said...

Well done! And congrats on choosing a new life as a writer!:D

October 02, 2006 1:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and well done Rachel! That's a brave and couragous thing to do but gut feelings always are. I've been reading your blog from day one and you're a great writer. Here's to the first book and a wonderful new career.


October 02, 2006 1:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello and congratulations. I found your blog by employing the "next blog" button. Much to my delight, you appeared on the monitor a week before beginning a new path in life. Many blessings in all that you do!

October 02, 2006 3:24 pm  
Blogger Turbulent Cleric said...

Best wishes for your new beginning, Rachel. You deserve all the success that I am sure you will get.

October 03, 2006 9:36 am  
Blogger Karol Cross said...

Rachel, thats fantastic!
Congratulations on taking the big scary first steps.

Gosh, and "we knew her when"! :o)

October 03, 2006 8:28 pm  
Blogger kris said...

Nice one.

I very much enjoy going on Arvon Foundation courses. The catalouge comes out in january and I recommend getting in there as early as possible to book the particular course you're interested in. My favourite I went on was Fiction writing with Jake Arnott in Devon! Always well worth it.

Happy writing!

October 03, 2006 10:26 pm  
Blogger Leighton Cooke said...

I'm also going through lots of changes at the moment and making a new start. So good luck with your plans to be a writer. I'm sure you'll be a success as your blog has proved already.

October 04, 2006 7:40 pm  
Anonymous jk said...

very exciting good luck

October 06, 2006 10:44 pm  

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