I recently read a snippet from an interview with Steven Watson, the author of ‘Before I Go To Sleep’. The book had just been made into a film with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, and Watson was talking about why he made the leap from working in the NHS to writing a novel.

“I read an article in a magazine about career change and it inspired me,” he said. “I had a conversation with my boss, went part-time, wrote my novel, and two years later I’m standing on a film set watching my words come out of Nicole Kidman’s mouth.”

fucking hell. what a headline! and the bones of it – true. the facts of deciding, writing, all the way up to Ms Kidman.

there’s a back story, though, as well. in fact this ‘overnight success’ came about as a result of prolonged, intensive effort. as described in this article, it was in fact Watson’s twentieth attempt to write a novel, and came about after he went on a six month intensive writing course.

parallels with sobriety, here – frying pan on head obvious, but for the sake of completeness:

the potential rewards are beyond our wildest dreams. I have literally no idea how far I could go now in a few years time. I have achieved so much in the last year – mentally and emotionally I mean, rather than in worldly terms – that I feel as if I could do almost anything I set my mind to.

it doesn’t come easy, or, necessarily, the first time. but suppose Watson had given up after previously failed attempt number 19? there would have been no hovering on film sets, no interviews worldwide, no number 7 on New York Times booklist… so if you have just crashed and burned on sobriety attempt number 19 – you know what I’m going to say next, don’t you?

get support. get more support than you think you need, and get it earlier rather than later. those six months spent on an intensive writing course – do you think he regrets them, now? like hell he does. he met his now literary agent at an event that formed part of the course, even…. would that have happened if he’d been sitting at home, wishing his life were different?

his is an inspiring story, and amazingly encouraging….so… what would could you never dream of happening in two years time? what would you wear to meet Nicole Kidman?! start planning 🙂