I Dream of Living the Writer’s Life
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Where writers blog about their writing fears, insecurities, tribulations, adventures, and joys of a writer’s odyssey. The group posts the first Wednesday of every month.
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I have a dream. I dream of the writer’s life. Not to become a writer, because I am already a writer, but to live the writer’s life. Most people think that is as simple as writing a book, which just goes to show, they have never tried to write a book.
Just writing a book that is of good quality and engaging story is a complicated and demanding process, but that does not make the writer’s life. It means you wrote a book.
It takes so much more to achieve the life, to be successful at it, and it takes work to maintain the life once you have it. Just getting there is a process, and only the first stage with many levels of skills and achievements needed to acquire it.
I have studied the writing craft most of my adult life. I have taken courses, bought books, talked to people. I have written lots of poetry, and some short stories. The thing is I still understood nothing, until I started trying to put action and knowledge in a real structure of reality, in the actual doing it for publication. For all I knew, I knew nothing, the application and the practice is so much harder than the learning, but the personal reward of doing it is priceless.
I worry about doing it wrong. I worry about missing an opportunity due to lack of funds, which you need for a quality product. I worry about the passage of time and getting there, or joining the party too late in life. I worry about remembering what needs doing, and/or how to do it. I worry about not having the information/knowledge needed at the time I need it, in other words, learning it too late.
In writing this, I realized if I did not stop, I would worry the joy, the fun and the pleasure right out of the process, which is the reason I write in the first place. Writing has always been about play, imagination, and fun for me.
I also realized one of the reasons I am worrying this to death is because I am unemployed. I feel like I am putting them in some forbidden place, instead of using my time more constructively to clear up my personal situation. Does that mean I do not take myself seriously as a writer? I do not know. I think in the back of my head, when I think of the writing life I see everyone else, and not myself. Why not? Why not me? I love it. It is a passion. Somehow I equate doing something I enjoy in that way, as play or frivolous.
When I was working, I spent small amounts of time writing, in fact, I might go weeks or months without doing it. I craved it the whole time, but did not let myself take time. Maybe I need to reassess my commitment to living the writer’s life, and pursuing it as a career. The writer’s life is work. I have to work anyway, so why not work at achieving the dream.
Does this mean I will stop seeking other work to make my living? No, because survival dictates I cannot, but it does mean I need to quit beating myself up for writing, while I am looking for other employment opportunities. I have this time for a reason, and I need to make the best of it.
- I need to learn to focus on one thing at a time. I am a natural multitasker. I worked in 911 Communications for 23 years. The truth is you can only do one thing at a time, and in some things, speed is not your friend.
- Engulfing focus is finding joy, passion, and deep interest in what you are doing. That is what writing needs, but I need to learn how to include all the other while doing that too.
- I need to learn to manage my time for each thing, so all get their day in the sun. Allowing any of it to fall means extra stress to me, and makes my life unbalanced and overwhelmed.
- Writing is as necessary as breathing, but other stuff is the daily mechanics of survival. I need to learn how to maintain focus, and disengage from the other, while doing that one thing.
- The last thing is I need to finish that first draft. I am getting closer, but I allow other stresses to interfere. I do not like my process slowed down, or derailed. I need to find my personal coping balance.
- I need to reassess my business plan. I will have to let you know how that goes, but it could be key in finding my answers.
What do you do to manage life, find your focus, and cope with the living of life, while writing? Life is chaos, so there is an art to this. I am getting closer, but it is still a work in progress, and sometimes a complete disaster.
***Photo is my cat of 18 years KitKat/Quit Cat. I wrote this prose in her memory In Quit Cat’s Opinion