Friday, November 21, 2008

OK, I had sort of decided not to use this blog to write about my own writing efforts. But since I have exactly one follower so far, I still feel pretty free to change my mind. So I've decided to post here what I wrote in my journal this morning. Somehow, posting it in this more public way, where people might actually see it and read it, feels like I'm making a commitment.

Here goes:

OK, this morning I broke all my little self-imposed “rules.” I went back to bed for an hour after the guys left. Then after my shower, I sat down at the computer and started job-hunting right away, without doing my free-writing first.

But you know what? It’s OK, because I actually think I just had a flash of insight. I need to stop worrying so much about bringing in money, or I am never going to bring in any money by writing. Buried within me, underneath many years of accumulated suppression, there’s a lot of creativity. If I can just tap into it, and start writing things that are creative, I can sell some of them. I just know it. But instead, I spend most of my time at the computer looking for writing gigs that will generate a little short-term cash flow. Of course, I’m competing with every other unemployed, wannabe writer out there for those gigs. And there’s no money to speak of in the ones I see any way.

When I was a kid, I used to sit down and write stories. I did it for the fun of it, because it came naturally. And they were good. But I made a decision in college that I wanted a nine-to-five life with benefits and security, and I made a series of choices that took me that direction. Along the way, I worked hard to suppress the creativity and instead learned to be a translator. I’d take complex boring financial or technical concepts and translate them into understandable English. Creative flourishes were always discouraged.

Now, I need to spend some quality hours at my computer just writing made up stories for the fun of it. I need to know that they won’t all work out; some will have to be abandoned completely and others will have to be attempted many times before they turn into something. But I believe if I do this, I can eventually write something worth reading – and when I do that, I can sell it.

I also need to start churning out magazine queries. They take a long time to generate money, but the writing would be more enjoyable. I just need to let go and let God. I need to trust that somehow, he will provide the money we need.

It’s funny that I’m saying all this today, because just yesterday I sat and did a detailed cash flow analysis and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can’t afford to do what I’m doing beyond the end of March. Unless I start bringing in income, I mean. Living off the unemployment and savings will stretch me until the end of March, and when the April mortgage payment comes due, I won’t have it. Now, my husband is employed and with his help we can probably scrabble through a few more months, but I don’t want him and Sam to suffer for my choices. And I do believe the cuts we’d have to make at that point would involves some suffering.

So I guess here’s what I have to do. I have to keep applying for full-time jobs that look not-awful to me, in part because I have to do that anyway to stay eligible for unemployment. If one of those materializes, I will probably accept it and take that as a sign from God. I’ll keep building my writing business on the side, replenish my savings, and watch for a sign that it is the right time to go to writing full time.

I will focus more on generating proposals for magazine writing or any other writing that actually captures my imagination. I’ll set some kind of goals about sending out some number of query letters per week.

And then, most importantly of all, I think, I will set aside some time every day for creative writing. I will try to generate short stories and/or a novel. And marketable essays. But I will write things that give me joy, that use the talents God gave me and that make me feel like I am fulfilling my destiny. I will adjust my schedule so that a lot more of my daytime hours are spent actually sitting and WRITING!!

There you have it. Those are the thoughts I wrote in the privacy of my journal this morning, that I am now posting out on the web for all the world to see. I have committed!

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