Have you ever felt like you were stuck on one of those spinny rides? You know the ones at the park, with the round bottom and the posts you hang onto for dear life as the ride goes round and round, faster and faster, until some fucknut jumps off or sticks his foot out and everyone else ends up with whiplash or a smashed nose?
Why do kids even like those things?
Anyway, that’s how being a writer feels most of the time (for me). I’m sure everyone’s life is like that at some point. It’s like I’m spinning and then shit gets really fast and sometimes it’s exhilarating and I’m breathless thinking this is the ride spin so fast the whole thing will just take off.
Then some fucknut jumps off or sticks his foot out and I’m back where I started. Only now I’m a little bit nauseous and afraid to get back on.
But I do. Every time I get back on the ride, I believe this one will be different. But that fucknut is always there to send it off course. Sometimes I’m that fucknut, I’ll admit it. Sometimes it’s an intangible force. Sometimes it’s an actual fucknut.
I realize as I get off the ride for the hundredth time that it always ends the same way. It can’t do that forever, right? That wouldn’t be fair.
But that’s life.
I’ve been plugging away at this “dream” of writing for a really long time. I’ve made writing my day job, published two of my books, ran a website for writers, and I’ve got a contract with a small press (which I’m very excited about), which is all actually pretty impressive. You wouldn’t know it if you asked my family, because they think I do nothing all day long, but anyone in the industry knows it’s not easy writing fiction OR content for magazines, newspapers, websites, etc. It’s work.
Although I know that I work hard, I find myself looking for a job. I’ll still do the writing, but I feel as though this being home all day every day is… lazy. So maybe if I go to an actual job, where people see me and see that I’m physically working, they’ll stop treating me like I’m some lazy shit mooching off of my “man.” It’s wrong. I know it is, but Jesus I’m so sick of it. Instead of getting angry about it, I’m doing something to stop it. I don’t need any more bodies in my yard.
This sounds like whining. I’m not whining. I’m hoping that other writers who feel like this understand they aren’t alone, and anyone who isn’t a writer, but knows one understands how the negativity feels.
I knew that writing as a career is a bit of a stretch as a goal. I understand that it really does look like I sit around all day having heaps of fun. No one sees the hours of researching that goes into the content I publish online. No one sees the hours of editing I do on both my fiction and my articles. No one hears the constant chatter in my head as my voices remind me that I have to get this done before the deadline, promote the books, promote other authors, but also find time to get that chapter finished, or to beta read for this friend or that, or clean the toilets, do the laundry, cook supper (if we can call that destruction cooking), do something with my kids, buy groceries, take the dogs out, mop the floors… All you see is me home every day. I’d think the same thing if I didn’t actually do all of that. Yes, some days I spend the entire day in the garage writing and doing marketing shit, and nothing gets done in the house. Now and then I take a day and do nothing at all. I believe those are called “weekends” for the working folks.
But most days I get up at 5:30am, and I write or housewife until 9 or 10pm. I take the occasional ten minute break and play Candy Crush or something equally stupid, and sometimes I take longer and just watch a movie or take a shower. But that’s so my head doesn’t explode.
Writers reading this blog are probably nodding their heads, whether you have a “real” job or not. Readers are probably rolling their eyes, because here’s another writer trying to justify my glamorous and carefree life full of pajama pant days and such. I get that. It’s okay.
But next time you meet someone who “works from home” or who says “I’m a writer,” or who tells you they want to be this or that, how about you encourage them instead of criticizing or making assumptions. And when they manage to get a little closer to their dream, be excited for them. It’s not easy to do what you love instead of what you “should.” It takes guts, passion, and perseverance, no matter what the goal is. Some people get so much negativity or doubtful comments about their goals and dreams from those they love that they give up. I’m not that person, but I have to say, I’ve been tempted. It’s not fun having people look at your or speak to you as though you’re “less than” because you chose to follow your dreams.
I’m giving into the negativity a little, I guess, in looking for a job, but sometimes we have to be grownups. I don’t like it, but that’s what I’m doing. It’ll free up more time for other things, because I won’t be spending as many hours writing content. I hope. And I won’t be walking around with this big ball of pissed off in my gut because everyone looks at me “like that.” I hope.
8 thoughts on “Writers are People Too, and Sometimes We Do Stuff; Hard Stuff”
Every. Single. Day. And then there are those days when other things have to be done first (like car repair) and the writing goes to the wayside. THEN that negativity comes from inside rather than ignorant outsiders because you’re one more day behind on the goal you set to finish this draft.
I’m paddling in the boat next to you. I’ve held this guilt in my gut ever since I stopped working that I SHOULD have a “real” job so I can contribute to my family. Sure, I’ve got a small press contract but that’s hardly worthy of calling it a career in the eyes of the rest of the world. When I went to apply for medicare for the kidlets, they asked what I did for work. I told them I write fiction and occasionally freelance. You know what their faces said? I bet you can guess – “Lazy mom who doesn’t want to work. Got it.” Then they had the audacity to write “unemployed” in the paperwork. Writing isn’t a “real job” anymore. Can we go back to the Victorian age when EVERYONE who could read, did, and it was an honor to host a writer at your salon? Okay, so maybe it was that way with men only but still…
Exactly. Even if you can claim income every year from your writing, under position you have to put “self employed.” And as you know, I’ve been through the whole “What do you do?” “I’m a writer” “so you’re unemployed?” Shit too. Doesn’t matter how many pieces of published and paid for work you show them. It sucks and sometimes it’s demoralizing. I think any job in the arts is considered a “hobby” anymore unless you hit the big and famous category, which sucks. Singing, acting, painting, dancing, writing, etc. are really hard jobs. I guess that’s why most of the people doing it have to love what they’re doing.
Seriously. I’m sure we’ve all had moments where we think that we should just quit, but then that little voice perks up and smacks our frontal lobes with a brick for being a dumbass.
Lol. We all get the “Fucksakes why am I doing this shit?” moments. We keep on keeping on because the other option is never writing again. I can’t imagine such a thing. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve ben keeping track and Karma owes me rich if not famous.
I wish you wouldn’t have to deal with the condescending looks of “real job” people thinking writing is all jolly fun and rainbows. People who’ve never done a piece of creative writing AND HAD IT EXPOSED TO OTHER PEOPLE’S CRITIQUE have no fucking clue.
But at the same time I know what doesn’t kill you makes you angrier. And an angry Renee is a killer writer. Literally. 🙂
Keep your head up and your mouth over the level of shit others shovel onto you. Rich and famous is just around the corner.
The next time someone gives you that look, show them your books–or your contract. It’s tough when you don’t have anything published, but you’re not in that boat.
For the record, just because you don’t make a big wage doesn’t mean you don’t contribute to the family. I’ve spent several years “unemployed”, but Greg knows I’m the one who keeps hearth and home from flying apart. I’m the glue. He couldn’t do what he does without my help.
You’re the glue in your family. So if anyone tells you differently, tell them to shaddup before they look more stupid.
Thanks guys. I think the frustrating part for me (and probably many writers) is that I know all of this. And I make more money at home than I did working a “real” job. Last night I was thinking about it after an “incident” and I wondered how many people give up because of the constant discouragement like that and it made me angry. There are writers who work full time and get a similar reaction when they talk about writing. Actually, I know someone who hasn’t told anyone outside of her online friends about her writing. She’s never shared it with her family and friends because she doesn’t think they’ll take it seriously. That makes me sad.
Anyway, you guys always calm the storm. 😉 I’m still weighing the pros and cons of a job outside of the house. I’m not entirely convinced I’ll be any further ahead. The only advantage really is that people will stop asking me when I’m getting a real job or why I don’t work or commending Kurt for “letting” me stay home. That one really gets my panties in a bunch.