Several days ago I posted an ambitious blog declaring that true writers write every day and bemoaning my lack of self-discipline. As an experiment, I committed to posting on this blog daily for three weeks, to test the theory that it takes three weeks to establish a habit. If I were a teacher, I would grade myself a B. Possibly a B-. I have not managed to post every day for various reasons: no computer of my own (I know, incomprehensible!), work, migraines and indecision, to name a few. I have written in pen and ink every day; you will just have to trust me on that.
I'm not suffering from true writer's block; I have numerous ideas in my head and in my journal. I'm having trouble settling on specific topics and choosing ones that can be covered in a format shorter than a book. Also, everyday life, and especially my day (actually, night) job are seriously beginning to interfere with my writing time. I truly love my job, but I confess feeling slightly resentful when I have to stop writing and perform the tasks that I'm actually being paid to do. I dream of a day when my work will consist of reading and writing and be paid for the privilege. Perhaps not being wealthy, but at least making a decent living. I'm told that the love of money is the root of all evil. I don't think I'm a greedy person. I do like money, though. Quite a bit, in fact. It's terribly useful in preventing homelessness. Nothing is impossible, but I know the day I can say farewell to my day (night) job will not be in the near future. Meanwhile, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day for me to read and write as much as I want. "Boo hoo!", some of you are probably thinking. "Welcome to the real world, sister."
I am fully cognizant of the real world; in fact that's where I get most of my inspiration. Eleven years of dispatching police and fire and answering 9-1-1 calls has provided me with material to keep me writing for years, and that doesn't even include writing about my own life. The characters... oh, the characters! Names will have to be changed to protect the guilty, of course, and I'm not referring only to the criminals. (There's a fine line...) That's just one job; I've had many, including waitressing, and if waiting tables doesn't make you a judge of character, nothing will. As for the personal writing, 40 years on the planet has made me an expert in certain areas, namely dysfunctional relationships. My dilemma(s)? Where to begin. What to focus on first. How to organize it all. How to manage my precious time so that I can write and still juggle my full-time job, personal relationships, and other interests and committments. How do "real" writers do it all? Or do they? Will I have to sacrifice some things, maybe even some relationships? Should I bother finishing my English degree and continuing on to law school as I planned, or focus entirely on writing?
Some goal-setting seems appropriate. What do I want to accomplish with my writing? Change the world, become rich and famous? I certainly want to be published, but what is my motivation? When I was younger, I thought making it on the New York Times Bestseller list was the ultimate mark of success. Then, as I continued reading and maturing, I came to realize that a great deal of what makes that list is garbage. Bestselling crap. There is an audience for crappy writing, or at least mediocre, formulaic writing. It occurred to me years ago that I could probably knock out some trashy romances with ease and maybe make some serious cash off it. But do I really want my name attached to that level of writing? If I sound a bit snotty, well, honestly, I am. Life is too short for genre fiction, in my view. If that attitude makes me a snob, I can live with that. It may also make me unpublished and unpaid, and I may have to accept that too. All I can write is what I truly think and feel, not what is expected by a certain audience. Yet a writer must have an audience, no matter how small. Who is my audience?
So many questions. I will ponder them, and keep writing whatever comes to mind each day. Eventually, I will plan some actual projects, something beyond this blog, maybe suitable for publication, maybe just satisfying to me personally. Meanwhile, I will continue to show up every day (almost) and see what happens.