I’m writing this early but I don’t know when it will get posted, as today is a client day and I’m away to the boutique for 10am.
I’m down to about 3 of these a month now, which is great for focus on all the other work I do. But I do like to keep my hand in within standard work environments, as it used to be the whole of my business when I first went out on my own.
A bit of background, for those who are not familiar…
For about a decade, I was a tour guide, and Heritage Centre Manager, at the Rathcroghan Royal Complex in County Roscommon, Ireland. In my time there, I moved it from a small local community business to beginning to take it’s rightful position as an internationally recognised World Heritage Site. Since I left, things have reverted to a little more of a local focus, but hey, not my circus, not my monkeys. Anymore.
As a community enterprise manager, I was very involved within my county, and volunteered – later winning a business development contract – to support other small to medium enterprises with their marketing, particularly around copywriting and information management.
I was already a published author and journalist. My first paid newspaper series ran in 2001, and my first book was written in 2003, then traditionally published in 2004, when I was just 25. The heritage job took a lot of my time and resources, and I had left my severely dysfunctional marriage in 2006, with 3 children aged 1yo, 5yo and 6yo.
I tipped away at a book project in fits and starts (Rathcroghan: A Journey, available now from Eel & Otter Press), but it wasn’t until 2013 that I got a boot up the hole to get back to writing properly, and wrote my second book ‘A Practical Guide to Irish Spirituality’ (Wolfpack Publishers, currently in reprint with Eel & Otter Press) in 3 months, while working the full time management job.
So. That’s a thing I did back then.
That was also the year I had a severe cervical cancer scare, and spent a large part of undergoing a mental and physical breakdown, due largely to previous relationship and custody issues.
I was 35.
The upshot of all of this was that I got signed off the management job by my doctor, who sort of snuck it on me by convincing me to take 2 weeks, then another 2. She knew I’d never just up and leave everyone in the lurch, but as she put it; “I don’t see what else can give, and something has GOT to give.”
She was the first person to spot the severe anxiety and C-PTSD symptoms of long term abuse.
“You’ve been in constant ‘warrior mode’ for years”, she told me, “you can’t carry on like this, your system will just crash”.
With a month’s distance on the pressures of the day job, I retreated to the security of the bookshop in which we lived, and began to think about starting a freelance writing business. I was able to take longer term sick leave on a mental health basis, and get a small stipend from the state from all those taxes I’d paid them, which cushioned some of the nerves.
And I began to write full time.
That business bloomed, and I transitioned from that to this business model… but sure we can get into all that another day. I gotta go to work!