I guess the use of the word "professional" implies you get paid for writing. Yeah, that's what I'd like.
Sunday last I was huddled in the boat shed down on the Yarra, watching the rain come down so hard it bounced off the pavement, and shivering. And regretting agreeing to being in a regatta as that meant I was obliged to turn up to practice with the rest of my crew, there being four of us in the boat. And pondering exactly how long it would take before I was soaked through. (This paragraph right here may be the reason I'm not a professional writer.)
Three of us were there waiting on our fourth; let's call her Ernestina. (I'm currently reading The French Lieutenant's Woman.) Anastasia- yep - made that one up too - was muttering something about killing Ernestina if she didn't turn up, I was mentally agreeing while chomping down on my Strepsils and feeling sorry for myself.
As we waited the discussion turned to professions. Our coach revealed that he was a professional writer, as if he didn't already have enough cachet being an experienced rower.
It's at this part of the conversation I always start to feel slightly jealous of everyone else's profession. 'English teacher' just has no glamour attached to it at all. I mean, I can (sometimes) corral 30 students and keep them captivated while teaching them the basics of dialogue, but it's not the same as writing scripts for a living. I decided to leave the first part of that teaching description out and revealed, "I'm an English teacher, apostrophes are one of my skills." It almost sounds good when you say it like that, doesn't it?
I was immediately gratified when Anastasia (a research fellow in Psychology - sigh, I'm so easily impressed) asked for clarification on an apostrophe point. But still . . . an English teacher. Maybe I want to be a professional writer too, wonder how I do that?
So I asked a friend. OK, actually, I was having a bit of a whinge but she pointed out you go and do some research and do some courses and get qualified etc. Yep, she's write (get it?) I pondered, so I went and did some research.
This looks very interesting, and promising, I thought discovering you can do something called a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing. Ooh, I'd enjoy doing that. Oh, it's $18,000. That would involve a fair bit of emergency teaching to be able to fund that. I wouldn't enjoy that so much.
Plus, well, let's face it I'm not that motivated to write, am I? I've done lots of short creative writing courses and enjoyed them, plus started my first best-selling novel What's a Nice Girl Like Me Doing in a Place Like This? but 'started' is the key word here. And I'm only blogging sporadically these days, the wild enthusiasm I had when I first started speaking up has dwindled.
Maybe what I need is a writing buddy? We could write a chapter each, young adult fiction, I think. How hard can it be? Have you read Harry Potter? Really? That, and all the subsequent books were best sellers. And made into movies. All of them. And let's not even talk about that Twilight Series - it's just an overly long, anti-feminist, updated version of Romeo and Juliet, complete with sulky teenage sighs.
Surely I could do better and let the female have a brain and a mind of her own. And, yet all three books were turned into films. Even better, three books turned into four films! And if you thought the books were bad you could only be aghast at how bad the films turned out to be.
So who wants to write a book with me? We don't have to call the characters Ernestina or Emmeline, promise.
Josie would be a good name though, wouldn't it? ;-)