Monday, 22 October 2012

Commitment Phobe

So I’ve been checking my finances and I’m at the point where literally every penny counts. The last time things were this tight there were just the two of us, living mortgage and virtually bill free in Spain and happy to live off the free vodka we got at work and the odd baguette. Clearly I cannot feed my kids on free vodka (even if I could get my hands on it) and bread, and I no longer live mortgage free, so I need to find some way to add to the funds or me and the dudes will be eating out (and by out I mean out of the in-laws freezer) for the foreseeable future.

Before someone pipes up with “why not just get a job?” I have two arguments against that in my circumstances. One, the job market is bad enough for those who have been in employment constantly, and this does not bode well for a graduate who has been technically unemployed for ten years. Two, and most importantly, if I wanted a boring old job where I did the same thing every day I’d be doing it right now. (Besides, I don’t want anything interfering with my volunteering at the bookshop, I have found something that really means something to me and when you find something that enriches your life to that extent, no matter that you don’t get paid, you don’t let it go. Kinda like this blog I suppose).

I have known I wanted to write since I was five years old and I found the tiny wing of some poor deceased creature (probably a fly, but I believed it came from a fairy) in a bunch of grapes and wrote a book about it. By book I mean five pages of an old exercise book, self illustrated, with finger spaces. But I have also always known that until I do a JK Rowling or EL James (which will happen one day I am sure of it) I need to make money some other way.

The trouble is, I’m not short of ideas. There was the spray on bra idea that I came up with The Dad about ten years ago, after I’d spent yet another fruitless shopping expedition looking for the perfect strapless and backless bra to go with a dress I had planned to wear. The idea is you put your arms in the air (or stand on your head or lie down depending on which way your boobs look best), someone sprays the stuff on you, which dries like a firm second skin, when you put your arms down your boobs stay in place, then when you have finished with it you simply peel it off and throw it away. A genius idea in theory, the answer to the prayers of many women all over the world, but we had no idea how to go about formulating the stuff (funnily enough neither of us have any knowledge or experience in chemical plastics or textiles) and didn’t know where to go to get it started. So we got as far as handwriting a non-disclosure contract (a contract which I am technically now breaking I suppose, whoops), before going back to our normal lives. For the record, if someone now brings out a spray on bra, I want it to be noted that you heard it here first.

Then there was the lottery. A three way syndicate where we each put in fifty quid and asked for one hundred and fifty lucky dip tickets from the bemused lottery assistant. We had a big envelope stuffed as full of hopes and dreams as it was lottery tickets. The big night arrived and our numbers came up to the tune of one hundred and ten pounds. Refusing to cut our losses and run, we “reinvested” our winnings and lost the lot. It was a washout, but had we won, we’d have been very smug millionaires (to be fair, I expect all millionaires are pretty smug).

These were just two (of the tamest) ideas I have come up with over the years to make money. I don’t want much. I don’t want big cars, and I love the house I have. I don’t need expensive holidays and I like getting stuff second hand, there is nothing like the buzz of a bargain. But what I do need is time. I just need enough money to buy myself time to write and bring up my kids. I don’t even care about being famous, I just want enough money to give me the time to do what I believe I was put here to do.

So anyway, despite my creative cup runneth over with ideas that I have no doubt could make money in theory, I have never followed through with any of them (except the lottery, which had a one in 14 million chance of winning, I don’t have the maths to say how much we upped our odds by buying 150 tickets, but I’d say not enough to make it a safe bet). And the reason why I never followed through with them is because I am a commitment phobic.

I just never had the guts to take one idea, just one, and run with it. Because I always worry that a better idea may come along. On top of that, there are always plenty of people to say “Oh that’s impossible”, “normal people don’t do things like that”, “you couldn’t do that”, “you’ll change your mind and have another idea in two days” or (and here’s the biggie) “It’s destined to fail”.

But I can argue against every one of their reasons: I like a challenge, I’m not normal, I can do anything I set my mind to thank you very much (except maybe win the lottery), yes I will have another idea and there is nothing stopping me doing that one too, and none of us like failure. But I would far rather be the person who tries and fails than the one who never tried at all. So why am I not a millionaire by now?

Fortune favours the brave, and my commitment phobia stems from a simple lack of balls. And I can't afford to stay ball-less any more, it’s time I grew a pair. So I am going to start committing to some of my ideas and you never know, one or two of them may well take off. If anyone wants to develop a spray on bra, get your people to call my people, I’ll commit.

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