By PD Martin
I wrote this post before I saw Gar’s post yesterday – amazing synchronicity we have here at Murderati sometimes…
I’ve realised over the past few months that I have an ‘unusual’ relationship to my writing. Or perhaps it’s pretty normal…you tell me. In some ways how writing makes me feel and my attitude towards it are contradictory. A love-hate relationship.
On the one hand, I love writing. I don’t get much time at the computer these days as a full-time mum to a young toddler, but the time I do get I cherish. I covet. I get cranky if something stands in the way of my writing day. My basic routine now is one full writing day (my husband works four days a week) and 1 hour on the other four days of the week during Liam’s naps.
The end of last year and the start of this year saw my limited writing time crunched even more…my daughter’s birthday, school holidays (21 December to 31 January here), Christmas, New Year, and our beach holiday. Three out of the first four weeks down at the beach I didn’t have my writing day (my husband was still working and commuting). At this point I was frustrated. Cranky, even. I needed to write. Finally on 11 January I had my first full writing day. And I wrote 7,500 words. Not surprisingly, I was pretty happy with that word count, and the words themselves. It made me realise how much I’d missed writing. It literally gushed out of me. And like Gar, I’m currently writing a story I want to write. I’m loving writing it and seeing how the characters and plot unfold. And while I do hope it’s commercially viable (which, of course, is code for a best seller), it’s probably not the best story to write from a business/marketing perspective. It’s a different genre (again) for a start!
Now, we’re still on the love part of my relationship with writing…I do love writing. I do. But sometimes I feel hypocritical because I don’t write at night. Problem is, usually I’m just too plain tired to sit at the computer. I find a day as a full-time mother much more tiring than a day at a full-time job. Plus, this is my time with my husband. Our time to sit back and have a nice dinner and perhaps a glass of wine. And maybe catch up on our favourite TV shows (Dexter, Person of Interest, Homeland and our latest discovery is the UK’s Sherlock, which Alex blogged about here quite extensively and mentioned on Tuesday!) By the way, Alex, now that I’ve watched it I totally agree :) We’re loving Sherlock.
So now onto the hate part. At times, I feel like my chosen path has taken many things away from me (or at least denied me things). I look at my friends who are still in the corporate world, and I do notice the differences in our lifestyles. Bigger houses, better cars, dinners out…etc. etc. And on the one hand I feel: “No, that’s all material stuff. I’m living my dream — literally.” Then I answer myself back: “No, your dream is to make a living from writing, or better yet be a best-selling novelist.” And I hate that my love and skill doesn’t equate to making a decent living.
At times, I think I have to give up for my own sanity. Not to mention financial freedom. If I went back into the corporate world (even part time) things would certainly be a lot easier financially. But if I’m this cranky when I’m only getting a few hours here and there to write, what would I be like if I didn’t write at all? Or if I wasn’t writing at all, wasn’t trying to finish a book and write that best seller, would I simply be able to let it go?
I’m thinking many of the writers out there can relate to this dilemma. There are at least a few of us at Murderati who’ve been circling or blogging directly about how hard it is to do what we love and make a living.
So, what’s the answer? Go back into the corporate world? Work harder at my writing? Maybe I need to force myself to write at night to add a couple of hours to my weekly quota.
I’m actually feeling pretty good about my current work in progress, but I usually do when I’m in the middle of the first draft. I have that writing high — which deserves a dedicated blog, so that will be in a fortnight’s time.
Safe to say, I’m in the love cycle of my relationship with writing, as long as I don’t think about the dream. The author’s dream.
So, Murderati if you’ve got answers or thoughts throw them my way. Is it normal to love writing but also resent it (almost kind of hate it) because of the financial repercussions of choosing this path? I’m thinking maybe that’s pretty normal for an author these days. And maybe there are no answers.
I’m going to try to focus on the love at the moment. You?