Background: My current work in progress was a NaNoWriMo project from 2016. Allow me to present you with an incomplete timeline, and the things I’m currently doing to get this book ready for potentially querying.
Over the last two months, I have been trying to keep up with my New Years Resolutions while juggling jobs, friendships, my relationship and my life. I have spent the last two years reading self help memoirs about women working towards the best version of themselves. And after two months, I am ready to throw in the towel.
For the last two months, I have blogged every Sunday, and every Sunday, I have enjoyed it. I love the challenge of blogging, finding the perfect picture, sharing my work on social media and being the proud owner of a blog. But the last couple days have been rough personally and professionally, and that has resulted in a level of creative exhaustion I don’t usually experience.
As someone who writes and defines themselves as a “writer,” I see a lot of my writing as a job. And I get paid to write blog posts, news articles, and to do copy writing. But what about this novel I’ve spent the last eight months trying to write, or other personal writing projects. Are they part of my “job?”
I’ve read a lot of blogs and twitter posts that if you want to “make it” as a novelist, you must treat it like a job. Set hours that you are going to write, dress up for the occasion in a pencil skirt and blouse, sit at a desk, etc. And I can agree that these things make you feel official and that they will lead, potentially, to some productivity.
But then I think of an Elizabeth Gilbert anecdote about the poet who would be outside, and would hear a poem coming for miles, and she would have to run, faster and faster to her desk to be able to sit down and work on this poem and jot it down as it flowed through her body and if she wasn’t at the right place at the right time then it would float on by, on to the next writer who was ready for it.
Writing is a job for me. It is a “freelance, sit down, have a deadline” job. It is studying mannerisms of speech and googling facts and doing research and it is sometimes hard. Far harder than I ever wanted it to be.
It’s about getting up before work starts for the day to look up newspaper articles that just broke. It’s about sending countless pitch emails to publications to compile a list of rejections. It’s about first time luck prevailing and second guessing and hoping and praying and failing.
Is writing my job? Yes. It’s one of many things I do. My novel, however unattended to, is my job. It is to be worked on and teased out and toiled over and written. And I treat it, now and forever, like a job.
I’ve been writing semi consistently since I was 16. There isn’t lots of my work out there for the world to see, but it’s there in the corners of the internet I’ve been playing in for years. I’ve written plays and blog posts and articles and short stories. And a lot of it, so much of it is fun.
But it’s also work.
Tell me about your relationship to writing in a comment below. Is it a job, or a hobby to you?
I have a really “all or nothing” personality. I either need to write thousands of words or none at all, read six books in two days on nothing for months, or go hard at being healthy or eat myself into a cheesecake coma.
My best of intentions often go horribly wrong. At the beginning of this month, I made some resolutions, and while we aren’t at the end of the month, I am at a point where I am frustrated with myself. So I want to go over where I went wrong, and figure out how I can fix things:
Dear Reader, I have never done one of these before. But this has been a weird year. The election, as with every election cycle, took hold of my life, and in times of sorrow, it can be genuinely difficult to look at your own accomplishments and celebrate them. But I want to celebrate this year, and all the good bits of it.
Dear Reader, I am going to resist the urge to apologize for the lack of schedule, the lack of through line and theme, the lack of any and everything, and I am just going to talk today about what I’m reading, what I’m writing, and all that jazz.
Well, I’m doing it. For reasons I don’t fully understand.
I love reading memoir, and have for a long time. I’ve been reading memoir since I was a child, so naturally, when I heard about The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, I jumped on it. Ashley from Climb The Stacks recommended this, and the link goes to her video review of the book.