Well, I didn’t do any…

Well, I didn't do any grading yesterday. I'm not sure what I did do yesterday, actually. I think I reread an Anita Blake novel. I took a nap and everything after that is kind of a blur. Oh, I did go to workshop. It was good. Shorter than usual. I think I watched some tv in the evening.

Did get some good news; Jeff at Puritan wants me to write some more smut. This is good because a) it pays well, b) I'll probably have time to do it before the semester starts, and c) he wants me to do an erotic retelling of Cinderella, which will be fun. Cinderella and her step-sisters (remember, they're not blood relatives). Cinderella and her step-mother? Cinderella and the fairy godmother! The step-sisters at home alone (so what if they're blood relatives?). The prince's secret fetishes. The king's twisted desires. The queen's dominatrix tendencies. Hee hee. If you like to keep your cherished fairy tales innocent, you might not want to read this version.

I have so much to do today. Aiiiggghhh!

7:45. Well, rehearsal was cancelled. I had gotten a message that it was, but I also got a message that it was back on, so I'm just confused. I'm now feeling sweaty and tired from walking over, and I would be a little depressed, but I'm too pleased to be home with lightning flashing and thunder rumbling -- it looks like a very nice thunderstorm is shaping up. I just wish I had somewhere private to dance naked in the rain. I'll have to settle for opening the sunroom windows and sticking my head out, which is just not the same, let me tell you.

I got a tremendous amount done today, but somehow none of it was grading. That really is okay, though -- my flight tomorrow isn't 'til 3, and I have all morning to do what is probably about two hours of grading. And my desk is almost clean, and my dishes and laundry are done, and I've laid out everything to pack, and I'm feeling nicely compulsive and satisfied. :-) I even managed to run downtown and pick up a few things I needed (instead of napping). It is appalling how much a good bra costs, but that's a separate rant.

I'm still thinking about a journal entry of Patrick's I read a few days ago. It's interesting -- he's not in the same boat as those of my friends who want to write but aren't writing. He's at what I think of as the next stage -- writing some, and learning and progressing and working at his craft...but at the same time, spending most of his energy on a day job he doesn't care about at all. Of course some of us are lucky enough to have sweeties who take care of all that nasty rent and groceries and such, but the rest of us have to figure some way to nourish the creative part of us while at the same time handling the house and food and all. (Let us not even discuss the people who manage to do all of this AND raise kids, like the famous Ms. Rowling).

For me, the transition away from that stage came when I decided I absolutely had to find a day job which at the very least did not take energy away from writing -- and which ideally added energy back into my writing. Now, that's not going to be the same for everyone. I have one friend who spent three years as a night watchman; he had eight hours a night sitting at a desk, occasionally glancing at cameras, mostly reading and writing. That would drive me bonkers, but it worked for him. I think a lot of writers (and all this goes for anyone in the arts, of course) work best when mostly alone (heck that applies to mathematicians too). And I need at least some time alone every week, or there's no time for stories to develop in my head.

I think the best day job for me is teaching. It's a job that makes me think, which is good for my brain, and the interactions with the students get me excited and energetic. They're good for me. They ask questions all the time. And the job pays as well for 20 hrs/week as I made doing 40 hrs/week as a secretary. Which is not a huge amount of money, for sure, but my goal was never to make a huge amount of money. Oh, it would be nice to be able to jet over to Portugal on a moment's whim, but I'd settle for being debt-free. If I'd kept being a full-time adjunct, I would have been debt-free within a year. I'd have plenty of time to write, and a day job that I enjoyed and that fed my writing. I'm still a little sorry about giving all that up.

I *think* that going back to do the Ph.D. will be better for my writing. Less time to write (as I take classes as well as teaching), but teachers and colleagues to really push me and the writing further. Much less money, but I'll manage. I'll still have my teaching to keep me energetic. I'm a little afraid of burning out, but I think if I pace myself it'll work out okay.

I guess my point is that for the last several years, every major change I've made in my life (okay, aside from a few of the romantic ones) I've made because I thought it would help my writing. Not all of them have worked out. Tech writing left me too tired of writing to want to write much creatively (not to mention being extra hard on my hands). Taking a summer off last year actually resulted in very little writing getting done -- I seem to need the outside stimulation to keep from being a lazy bum. But whether it was a good choice or a bad one, it had the goal in mind of becoming a better writer. Which I decided years ago was going to be the primary goal.

I enjoy lots of things, you know. I like to act, actually. I love music. I'm really pleased by how much I enjoy teaching. And I will try to keep as much of those things in my life as possible, because they do feed into my writing, and they make me happy. But despite my workaholic tendencies, it's definitely true that I can't be an expert at everything. I may not master calculus until I'm sixty, or not at all. Which will bug me a little, since I hate failing at things. But I decided that writing was what I loved best -- and what I had the best chance at being really good at (I doubt I would ever have been more than a mediocre actor). And I've discovered that I'm ambitious enough that I really hate the idea of not being as good as I possibly can. At something, if not everything. So I chose writing, and made that the goal, and funneled everything else into that goal. This is absolutely not the right sort of choice for everyone, and I don't want to sound like I'm advocating everyone quitting their jobs and becoming writers. That would be a bad thing. But if you hate your job, if you dream of becoming something else, if there's any way you can choose to follow that dream...well, I've been a lot happier since I made that choice.

Sheesh. I can hear my parents now. "We told you -- be ambitious! Focus on your goals! Plan for them! Work hard!" Okay, okay, I figured it out for myself eventually. It might have saved me some stress (and a couple of years of temp work) if I'd figured it out earlier...but I think I'll just be glad I didn't figure it out later.

(And in case you were wondering -- it was absolutely terrifying deciding I was going to seriously commit to being a writer.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *