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.