I Dream of Living the Writer’s Life

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kitkat1

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

 

 

 

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30 comments

  • Time management is key (and I’m shaking a finger at myself as I say this) — alot time everyday for seeking other employment and alot time for writing too—and make them both equally important.

  • It is hard to really focus, and zoom in on what’s important. You’re right that just writing a book isn’t enough. You have to maintain it like a garden, so it will continue to grow.

    • admin

      Nice analogy. LOL, I am impatient with myself to get my garden to grow, but I think it is because of all the unknown factors right now. I’m still planting and watering.

  • When life gets completely chaotic, I pull out a list and a timer. I give myself between 20 minutes and an hour to spend on each task; that way I don’t get overwhelmed or sucked in by any one area. I have also found that setting certain times aside for certain tasks helps, if you can do that. Like 8-9 writing time, 10-11 job hunt time, etc. I have to leave gaps between things just in case I get caught up in something.
    Not sure if that helps, but it’s just another idea.
    Happy writing! Just keep working at it a bit at a time. 🙂
    BTW – I would love to do a guest post, but I couldn’t figure out how to follow the linky for your e-mail address. Not sure what I was doing wrong. My e-mail is tyreantigger@gmail.com

    • admin

      Hi Tyrean, I sent you an email from my personal email to make it easier. I look forward to hosting you. Congratulations about the new book release.

      Those are great ideas. I try, but I am bad at time management. A lot of times I need larger blocks of time to get things accomplished, so probably just setting days for this or that would work better for me. I do, do timed writings at times, but not consistently, lol.

  • Wow, this so resonates with me. I, too, dream of living a writer’s life. I am currently taking care of my kids and the house and everything, and not working outside the home so I can publish my book. Every day I worry that I made the wrong decision about staying home and working on this instead of looking for employment. My family and friends tell me that right now my book is my job, but it’s so hard to treat it that way with life constantly clamoring for all my precious time. Stress is my daily companion. I’m learning to allow myself to write without feeling guilty for all that I’m not doing. I take a lot of deep breaths and keep reminding myself that this is my one shot to achieve my dream and I’m going to take it. If I don’t, I will regret it for the rest of my life.

    • admin

      I always feel I have so much to do, and little time to get there, when it comes to my writing. I tend to feel guilty for time spent writing, and guilty when I do not write. It feels like a catch 22. If it was not for the money crunch, and the limits it puts on you I would just write, but I cannot afford to do that. Of course there would be other guilt’s, but that would be one less guilt. However, if we want to live the writer’s life first we must write, create and put it out there. Mind you I know that is no guarantee either, but it is what it takes to get there. Writing and Repeating it.

  • I think we never stop being a work of progress. And yes, worry does have a way of sapping all the joy out of life. Worrying about a thing doesn’t change it. Great post.

    • admin

      Thank you. I agree, but figuring out how not worry is proving harder. I think I need to refocus my thoughts somewhat. I’ll get there. I appreciate the comment.

  • Make a daily to-do list. That way you do more. Who knows you may feel better 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  • It’s all about time management and claiming your right to write. It takes focus, and it also takes giving ourselves grace to live life and tend to our business, friends, and family, too. Good luck. Celebrate even small amounts of success.

  • Wow, you really seem to have an organized thought process. I admire that and I’m sure it will help you with your writing and future employment.

    I don’t think you need to feel guilty for writing while you are out of work. It is work and who knows where it may lead. Now I understand that you need a paying job, but most likely that will come too, as long as you keep plugging along. Writing may help that out also.

    Best of luck and whatever you do end up doing never give up on your writing.

    • admin

      Thank you for the compliment. No writing is with me to stay, it is the stress and worry I would like to chuck, lol. Some days are better than others.

  • I think there is a tendency to idealize a writer’s lifestyle to be this idyllic routine that involves late nights of inspired and frenzied writing and days of leisure spent in coffee shops commiserating over sales figures.
    That’s what I always thought anyway, because that’s how Hemingway did it. 🙂

    But in reality, I see writers raising their families while churning out novels. I see them juggle day jobs and school with their writing. Others take care of a loved one and write in spare moments. Some are like you and fear the lost income their passion might cause.
    I think it’s good to remember that a writer’s life can include all these scenarios, maybe even in different phases of the same life! There is nothing that can stand in the way of the true writer and his passion.
    Would that we could find a place where our writing is appreciated and treasured the way it should be …
    But for now, I think THIS might be the real writer’s life. It’s good to know that we’re on board this pleasure cruise together.
    Hemingway can join us if he likes. 🙂

    • admin

      LOL, I would like to do it Hemingway’s way with little tweaks all my own, but you are right. The writer of today is not the writer by yesterdays definition, and yet they are the same. A writer writes, but it is the lifestyles that vary. Life society the writer’s life evolved.

  • We have three cats. One sleeps in a box on top of my filing cabinet next to me. I think it’s so he can keep tabs on my writing. I guess I live the writer’s life. I write. I sell books. I’m alone a lot. My husband has even learned to keep busy outside during the day so I have quiet time. I wish I could say life is simple and easy and profitable. I wish. But I am doing what I love to do. Many of life’s problems interfere with my writing time. My adult children and their problems, bills, weather, writer’s block. Juneta, if you live in the moment and wake every day feeling glad to be alive, I think you manage to cope with all the other negative stuff.

    • admin

      Thank you. I could not ask for better advice than that. Knowing and doing along with coping sometimes get muddled, but I get what you are saying. I know you are right. I will keep my eye on the goal, and just keep writing.

  • I completely understand what your are going through. I am unemployed right now too and I am not even spending most of my time writing. I think you have all the skills and tools to make your dream a reality. Unfortunately I don’t have advice for stress, aside for writing. Know that you are not alone in your fears. I worry about writing wrong all the time. I hope you feel better soon. I’m cheering for you.

    • admin

      Thank you. I appreciate that, and the commment. It is writing through the tough times, that is actually tough. Searching inside for that spark of inspiration to just get any words on paper. I have found, since I started writing everyday that it is easier to get writing done in the hard times. I thought that was an interesting side affect. That just goes to show all those who have gone before know what they are talking about, when they say JUST WRITE every day.

  • I have a set time and place where I write, so everyone knows not to disturb me.

    • admin

      I have a place, and I write daily, but I do not have a set time. The others knowing not to disturb me would be a good deal, if they will do it, lol. I have been working on getting my schedule turned around where I write from like 8 to 5 on a job. I worked deep nights for over 15 years, so my body does not always cooperate with me on the schedule. One little off day can send me back to deep nights for weeks, until I manage to train my body again. I do not know why I do not need training for the later schedule, but I don’t. It just happens. Thank you for commenting.

  • I fear the same thing that I’m doing it wrong. As a writer, we get rules to succeed, but we don’t get rules to stay motivated and how to keep succeeding as a writer. Good luck with your writing endeavors.

  • Oh, Juneta, first off best of luck with everything!! (((((hugs))))) Second, yes, worry and stress is the enemy. I hear you, same here. But, like you said, you are strong, you have the knowledge and skills and I’m sure that a job that put you on the line as a 911 operator has made you even stronger. And I’m sure that once you focus on your strength you’ll find your balance again and that draft will be completed! Hang in there, it’s closer than you think! 😉

    • admin

      Thank you. I hope so. Writing a book was a bigger task than I thought, and I did know something about the subject already, lol. I’m still plugging, and pushing for the end of the year or first of next year. It is all the other crap outside the writing that gets to me, and unfortunately I at times let that hinder my writing. Mind you, it does not stop me, but it does slow me down.

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