I am about to add a third master to my already full dance card as I try my hand at a potential career change. In public service parlance (possibly private sector too) a 'secondment' is when you temporarily step into another role. The stated reasons anyone does such things is to see if there's something out there that you might enjoy with a 'safety net' - stepping outside your comfort zone without a door shutting behind you. Gosh - could I speak in any more clichéd terms? Sometimes trying something new leads to cathartic life changes. Sometimes it doesn't. The opportunity of itself is worth the uncomfortable feeling that you might be making a huge mistake or might just be stepping into your dream job.
I juggle two masters at the moment. Political whipping girl (read - public policy adviser subject to occasional flagellation from the elected representatives of the people) and part time speculative fiction writer. When one vortex sucks me in (usually the day job), it makes my other passion harder to pursue notwithstanding my hard core disciplined approach to time management. You don't get to the point where you're writing your sixth book in a dozen years without some measure of drive to squeeze as much into your day as possible. (This from a person who avoids working at night after a 12 hour working day.)
So you might ask - what on earth would possess me to accept an offer to take on a role (albeit temporarily) that is bound to fill my already overflowing time chalice to the brim? I realised a few weeks ago that I am approaching the 10 year anniversary in my current advising role. It's about the same length of time I was married. I don't like milestone anniversaries. Never have, never will either. It is akin to reaching that point where you are so comfortable, you are sleepwalking through your days. I don't want to be uncomfortable all the time but I do want to be challenged and a little stressed and creating something new. It reminds me I am alive.
The new role is among other things being a writer who advocates - building others' skills to sell the facts - to a bunch of people with disparate views about what the facts actually mean. I am rather excited by this opportunity - gives me a chance to use my talents in ways my current day job has never fully allowed me to do. Might be perfect for me, might be a nightmare. I will either come out the other end traumatised, or thriving in a role that might just become my next sea change.
So where am I with my most fervent master? The one who shakes me awake in the middle of the night filling my head with characters, story arcs, scenes, and fantastic journeys. My imagination is finding a wonderful home on the pages of my sixth book. I've written 33,000 words (about a third) of the book since I started writing it in January. I will complete the first substantive draft by this time next year. Most people I mention this timing to are gobsmacked by the amount of time and huge task I have ahead of me (not taking into account the editing to-and-fro time after that which adds another year before publication). I am writing the equivalent of a PhD thesis in half the time it takes to acquire that qualification. Sucker for punishment obviously - a slave to word play.
My collection of metaphorical whips grows by the day. Driven to beat down the fades.