Watching a show the other day, there was a character who had been told she had six months to live. Where was she? At work in a nice tidy office job. She wasn’t changing the world or saving lives, she just had work to do, and kept showing up to do it. It made me wonder about the reaction I would have if I were faced with the same prognosis.
I’ve been writing full time now for a little over a year. Before that, I worked in a cubicle. In my cubicle days, I think my first reaction would have been that I wouldn’t want to waste what little time I had left sitting in a fabric box 8 hours a day. I don’t know what I would have done (probably wasted my time some other way, frankly), but I wouldn’t have wanted it to be work.
Now? I have so many stories to write, I’d be in a panic to finish as many of them as possible. I’d look at my backlog of ideas and regret all the ones that would never become anything more than a blurb of a paragraph of reminder.
To me, this means I’m in the right profession.
There may be no yacht buying in my future, but I’ve got a growing fan base, and an outlook that this might be sustainable long term. I work more than I ever did before. Nights, weekends, holidays, everything is fair game. I’ll take a day off here or there, but it usually takes prompting from my wife, and even on off days, sometimes I still write a little (or edit, which is part and parcel). Then there are all the times that I am “working” while I’m on the highway, or in the shower, or lying in bed falling asleep. Those are the times when stories play themselves out in my head – at least the good parts, anyway. I’ve done it as long as I can remember, but it used to be that the stories never got beyond existing as fragments that floated haphazardly around in my head. I love that now these turn into written stories that other people can enjoy. The process of converting those fragments into stories can sometimes be difficult, but that’s where the challenge fits in.
The best part: it hardly ever ends up feeling like “work.”
(marketing though, is work)
That’s how I feel too. During the periods that I’m “not a writer,” I’m very accepting of the prospect of someday dying, but when I get back to writing, suddenly I CAN’T DIE YET! I HAVE PROJECTS TO FINISH! If I had six months to live, I’d dump the day job and just write (while listening to my husband go, “Why are you wasting precious time with your face in a screen in the windowless basement?”).