Our motto here is “live to write – write to live.”
Today, I feel like I’ve been fighting tooth and nail for my right to write.
It’s not that anyone is actually trying to stop me from pursuing my dream. It’s just that life has a habit of getting in the way. It’s not exactly malignant or even unkind, just inconvenient and often – like today – insanely frustrating.
Though the fourth was a holiday for most folks in the states today, I worked. It was my choice. I have several large-ish copywriting deadlines looming and, since my daughter was spending the day with her dad, I figured I’d take advantage of the uninterrupted quiet and try to hammer out as much as I could. I began work at 9AM and didn’t stop (except to put the trash out, take a shower, and reheat some leftover pasta for dinner) until I hit the wall at 11PM. Despite a long day of butt-in-seat effort, I didn’t manage to get as much done as I’d hoped. *sigh*
That was when I started to feel like my resolve to write was being seriously (and cruelly) tested.
In case you missed it, I signed up for a six-week fiction writing class (the first I’ve taken in years). Last Thursday was the first class. My predicament this evening, as I sat cranky and cursing over my keyboard, is that I’m suddenly not sure there are enough working hours available to meet next week’s deadline. My knee-jerk solution was to consider skipping tomorrow’s class in order to free up time for my client project. Before the thought was even fully formed in my conscious mind, I was railing against it.
“No!” I thought with a silent vehemence that made the sentiment almost audible, “I won’t!” I felt raw and pointy emotions rising from my heart to my throat. I wanted to stamp my feet and pout. I wanted to shout that it isn’t fair. I wanted to crumple across my desk and cry.
Maybe it’s the recent full moon. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe I’m just over-tired from staying up to watch fireworks Tuesday night. Whatever the reason, I suddenly felt the weight and guilt of years (and years) of failing to follow through settling around me the way shovelfuls of dirt settle around a coffin. Smothering. Inescapable. Final.
Not a happy place.
It’s four minutes ’til midnight as I write this. Tomorrow I will go to class. Even though having that day back would make the next week of workdays much easier. Even though taking this class is costing me money while staying home to work would make me money. Even though my foul mood does not leave me in the best mindset for creative endeavors. Even though I feel a little guilty and self-indulgent for prioritizing my wants over my work obligations. Despite all this, I’m not giving up. I’m not caving in. I’m not bailing out. I am going to stick to my guns, keep my promise to myself, and show up to be a writer.
At the end of last week’s class, our instructor (the lovely Sophie Powell) asked each of us to state our writing intentions for the weeks ahead. As she went around the room, my classmates made various commitments – a half hour of writing each day, four hours of writing each day, a finished chapter, a completed outline, and so on. When it was my turn, I said, “I’m going to be completely honest and painfully realistic and say that the best I can commit to is showing up here each week.” In comparison to the intentions of my classmates, my promise sounded small and even a little lazy; but – in the context of my life – I knew it was a Big Deal.
I have a few other responsibilities for class – bringing a “perfect line” from a favorite book each week, unearthing and editing a piece I worked on years ago so I can bring it in to be workshopped by the class, and writing a couple pages of something new to share towards the end of our six weeks – but if all I manage to pull off is perfect attendance, that’s going to be good enough for me … gold-star worthy, in fact.
Well, how about that? I’m feeling a little better. Hopefully, by the time you read this, it will be tomorrow morning and I’ll be refreshed and rested after a half-decent night’s sleep … ready to tackle my commute into the city so I can enjoy three hours of dedication to my dream and my craft. My wish for you today is that you are able to find some time and a perfect way to give your writing dream some love and attention. There is no such thing as tomorrow. Tomorrow is just a figment of your imagination. Today is all you have, so you have to use it wisely.
What will you write today?
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.