Last Thursday, I began a two-month contract to help the Albuquerque Youth Symphony with a three-day alumni reunion. The work involved sits squarely with much of my former professional skill set in PR. Ladies and gentleman, I know how to put on an event. (That’s probably why I didn’t get hives or balk at chairing LCC Santa Fe.)
But starting a job out of the house – even though it’s short-term – is playing emotional havoc with my image of myself as a writer, as a professional writer. The fact that I don’t have a book in the publishing pipeline, and might not for who knows how long, isn’t helping.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still writing. I’m actually more productive now than I’ve been in many years past. I’m sending out short stories, writing freelance articles. But do I have the right to call myself a “professional writer” when that production isn’t supporting me, isn’t paying for my kids’ tuition at a pricey private school, isn’t resulting in new books with covers you can see on the side of this blog?
I don’t know . . .
Many of the authors I know work full-time at other jobs. They carve time out at night and in the early morning hours to keep their fiction going. I’m going to have to learn how to do that again, to balance it all in a way that I haven’t done for fourteen years. (How did Allison and so many others do it for all those years?)
I’m not whining here. My priority – my children’s education – is right where it should be. I’m also incredibly grateful to have this consultant job. It’s fun; I enjoy most of the tasks. It’s nice to be out of my home, having contact with all kinds of people, doing something I’m very good at. Feeling confident and making money at the same time.
But creatively it feels like I’m going backward, like everyone around me is jumping to full-time writing. And here I am, going in the opposite direction.
Somehow that feels like a defeat . . . like I’ve failed.
So today I’d love some perspective, a way to frame it so that I stop beating myself up. I’m sure many of you, dear ‘Rati, have had similar times in your life when you have had to readjust your self-image after years of going in one particular direction.
Please, share your experiences with me. Your comments always illuminate in such positive and thoughtful ways.