This is my first post, so who am I? Well Lacer supposedly means ‘torn’ in latin, don’t know if it actually does or not, at least whether it actually means torn for the definition of torn I want. I put torn into an english to latin translator and Lacer is what I got, but I suspect it probably just means torn piece of paper or something. Whereas me, I’m torn between the roles in my life and the rolls I want in my life. Ok I want everything, it’s just the old complaint that there’s never enough hours in the day.
I’m primarily a mum, to two rugrats, Girl Lacer nearing 4 and Boy Lacer nearing 2, but as they get older and the purse strings get progressively tighter my thoughts return with increasingly regularity to the prospect of work. Prior to the arrival of Girl Lacer I was a scientist, a role I am most emphatically not returning to. Being a lab rat is a distinctly young person’s game and not particularly parent friendly. I felt like when I left to have kids that I’d reached the end of that career anyway, I’d started out as a technician and ended up as one of the scientists and I feel like I’ve climbed that ladder.
Now with the thought of school for my two on the horizon, what am I going to do with my hours? More importantly what can I do that means that I’m earning money, in a job that I at least like and is flexible enough that I’m there for them at the end of the school day, at least most of the time. To me the whole end of school day thing is so important, when they’re small they’ve been at school at all day which can pretty tiring and then if I was working a ‘normal’ job, I wouldn’t be at home for at least another few hours, probably more with commuting after they finished school. I know it may be completely unavoidable but what I want most is for them when they start school is for them to have a home to go to when school finishes for the day. Not to have to go to some after school day care. But that’s the thing isn’t, the ‘home to go to’, if I don’t work, ultimately they might not have a ‘home to go to’ at all. We’re doing ok on just my husband’s salary at the moment but money is tight and with price rises left right and centre it can’t go on forever.
So what do I want to do? Actually, I’ll back track a bit, don’t you think that sometimes the best career ambitions are the ones that you wanted to do when you were a kid? The ones that you had decided on, on just pure passion, not on boring things like practicalities. When I was a kid, in order I wanted to be an astronaut, but got put off when I saw that Star Trek movie where they put that worm thing in Chekov’s ear, put me off something rotten that did! After that it was a writer, it was back in the Peter Davidson – Slyvestor McCoy years of Dr. Who, I really really wanted to write Dr.Who scripts, it progressed to me wanting to write other sorts of scripts to (heavily inspired by Indiana Jones if I remember correctly, actually thinking back my first script writing inspiration wasn’t Dr.Who, it was ET, I remember writing lots of stories about the little alien and a collie dog). Anyway after writer / script writer, I wanted to be a journalist but was heavily put off by my domineering dad, who thought journalists were ‘scum’. After that I wanted to be a doctor, still do really even 15 years later, every time I walk into a hospital I feel a strong twinge of regret that I never went to medical school, but my dad (see a pattern forming here) refused to support me through the long years of medical school. In fact to continue along the vein of my dad’s influence on my career, after I got my science degree (the alternative to getting that medical degree), he convinced me to go into teacher training, as there are teachers in my family, good god what a mistake that was! Anyway, as much as I’d still like to be a doctor and there is a medical school relatively near me that takes mature applicants that have already had a career doing something else, unfortunately financially and practically, it’s just not feasible sadly. However, as I grow older the passion for writing, particularly childrens writing is growing strong and thanks to the (mostly) excellent new Dr.Who, I’d still like to write for the series! So that’s what I’m trying to do, start out as a writer, ultimately in children’s stuff, but I consider myself a ‘jobbing’ writer, i.e. I’ll go where the money is. I’m doing a course on writing children’s literature and so far it’s going well and have been dabbling in writing non-fiction for some websites.
The website writing is what has peed me off today, although I’m peed off with myself really. I’d been writing for Helium and they’re holding a writing contest at the moment, each week they have a list of topics and you write on them. The first week I didn’t write as many articles as some people so didn’t stand a chance, the second week I wrote more using information already on the internet as my resources. Yes, hands up, I admit it, to write that volume of articles to even be within a chance, I was doing some paraphrasing, I strongly suspect I wasn’t the only one doing it though (I remember one article from another writer that had so clearly been copied and pasted, it still had the (see above) in the text referring to a now non-existant picture), also in some of the articles, there are only so many ways you can define something scientific, short of inventing new words in the english language! Paraphrasing and plaigarism is so common on the web though, what gauled me was that Helium sent me the articles I had supposedly plaigerised from, one of these articles I had honestly never seen before in my life but reading it, it was obvious that whoever had written it had read the same article I had read when I wrote mine. I’m not defending it though, thinking about it now, it wasn’t right and it certainly wasn’t good writing, I had thought that as long as I didn’t copy and paste (which has to be the biggest sin) and wrote it in my own words I’d be ok. But I should of used more sources and taken more time, but then with how the contest was structured I wouldn’t of had a chance. Hopefully, I wasn’t the only person weeded out and the contests on Helium are now going to encourage good writing, instead of speed writing. I worry now about progressing my writing career now though, although I want to specialise is fiction, I do not want accusations of plaigarism against me, I should of thought more, note to self, engage brain!
So anyway Helium is obviously not for me, it was taking too much of my time anyway. In the two weeks I was doing the contest, my normally slack standards of housework got even slacker and I fear my children see me too often in front of the lap top. But to go back to the whole subject of being ‘torn’, at the moment to write or to be a mum and (ugh I shudder to use this word, but I am what I am) a housewife, because right now I feel that if I try to combine both, I do neither role well.