According to my flat mate, this is supposed to help with life planning. Shade in each segment to indicate where your priorities are, and where you'd like them to be.
I've had my head in a whirl recently because I've been thinking about leaving London for Manchester: I can't afford to live here. Just when I'd almost hauled out the cardboard boxes, booked the removal van (i.e the family) I was offered a job. My guardian angel seems to have a cheeky streak in him; he drags me by my hair through challenges, then hands me a golden egg, then does it all over again. It's not ideal, but I do have complete faith now, from experience, that nothing is ever sooooooo bad it can't be solved. With that comes contentment.
For the past six months, I've been so busy with old stuff - things associated with Single Mother on the Verge the book, which I love doing, but let's be frank here darlings -- I don't get paid for most of the chatting on radio and sitting to have my picture taken stints, and it cuts into a writing day something chronic: also whilst I'm not getting paid, I'm spending like a fiend.
Unless you are in the stratosphere of internationally successful author, one does not make a shit load of money from writing. At least, not in the beginning. The agent needs to be paid, the tax man needs to be paid, and you need to use the advance to write the book... it doesn't, well not in my case, get added to some great big saving pool reserved for shopping trips and cruises.
When I was 28, after years at university, and years of balancing work as I wrote and brought up a child, I was more than £10,000 in debt. Actually, quite a bit more than that. Yeah, loads more than that. (Which is usual for postgraduates, Mother, so don't fret.)
At the tail end of 2007, I lost a job I loved (cuts in funding), my relationship ended, and in a two-week whirlwind I sold a book, which previously I had no concept of, nor intention of writing, for a high figure. I hit 30 on December 29, 2007, with a different stride to the girl who hit twenty with a little life growing in her tum. From aged 20, everything would be about trying to provide for that little life, and not 18-30 holidays in Magaluf.
I wrote a book and managed to clear my debts. We didn't go on a luxury holiday (or even a holiday abroad), and the one thing I'd like to treat myself to, a classic navy Burberry mac, is still hanging in Selfridges on Oxford Street, and not in my wardrobe. It was scary. It was like giving birth in House of Fraser --- when you didn't know you were pregnant. But it gave me such an enormous amount of perspective, because suddenly I had choices about where I might like to live, and the person I could be, because I wasn't chasing the wolf from the door everyday. The wolf isn't at the door now, but I can hear it howling around the corner. I'm glad it's there because it keeps me hungry, and it keeps me real.
I was lucky to have the luxury of being able to write and promote my book, and be a stay-at-home mum. It is the being 'a stay-at-home mum' part which was my dream, baby. My dream. Everything before had been about managing, but now I didn't have to manage and could simply 'do' what I loved, bizarrely that was tapping away in the morning, and making dinner at a decent time in the evening, running the bath, helping with homework, and reading a bedtime story.
However, I think I'm going to join the real world of work and writing again. Is it possible?