I fully committed myself to “being a writer” about 4 years ago. Before that I had a career that used my college degree, I had a boss to answer to and employees that answered to me, and I wore high heels every day.
But I gave that all up to tell stories…
It’s been really weird for me and over the last four years I’ve found myself
- Sleeping without an alarm clock ON WEEKDAYS!
- Wearing workout clothes as my outfit for the day.
- Misguidedly telling people that I was “Just a babysitter” (for nearly 3 years) much to the detriment of my ego.
- Googling things like
- The world map in every location imaginable
- “Types of sea creatures in mythology”
- “Parts of a pirate ship”
- How long it would take to walk from X to Y
- “Who is Davey Jones”
- How long it would take to swim from A to B
- “That one guy who played Captain Hook on TV”
And lastly… and weirdestly…
5. Telling friend I can’t hang out because I have to write.
It’s all been a surreal experience and a dream come true! But I find that the last one is the hardest for my friends to understand.
To them since I only work (as a babysitter) from about 3pm-8pm M-F that means I’m free all morning, afternoon, and on weekends. When I’m invited to go to lunch on a Wednesday afternoon, go to the movies on a Saturday, or hang out at the beach all Sunday and I decline because I say, “I’m writing” I’m often met with incredulity.
“But you can write any time.” They say.
And they are right!
But I’ve already chosen to write during the time they want me to go to the mall to buy shoes. (also I never wear heels anymore and this is the most devastating thing about being a writer!) If I moved my writing scheduled every time I was invited to do something I would actually never do any work. I think this must be why most writers are social recluses.
I’m not trying to say that I’m oh so popular, but I’ve always been a social butterfly (much to the chagrin of my 2nd grade teacher–all of my teachers, probably) I thrive on the company of my friends and I keep my social calendar full!!
But I’ve also had to learn to discipline myself. I have to treat writing as a job because no one else is going to. Recently I explained everything I have on my plate, as you can see it’s a lot!! I wouldn’t be able to get any of it done if I didn’t set aside time to take it very seriously.
I just finished my second round of edits on the sequel to Breathing Water and I was on a time-crunch. I set an aggressive time-frame to publication for this book. I want to release the sequel this summer (crossing my fingers!) so I have to really buckle down and work on it. I clocked 44 hours in 4 weeks on Toggl which means aside from babysitting, derby, sleeping, and trying to clean my apartment and work out, I was writing in all of my free time. It was kind of hard to turn down all the fun things I was invited to: winery weekend, ski trip, movies, shopping, coffee dates, after work cocktails. But I did it and I don’t regret it.
I learned to take my writing time seriously.
It’s been really weird being a writer–and disciplining myself to remember that my writing is my work–but I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do! I get to tell my stories and other people get to read them. This is literally what it means when dreams come true. Literally.
Being a writer is weird… but it sure is wonderful.