Doing What You Love
Time really does fly when you’re having fun.
While digging around in my Live to Write – Write to Live archives (searching for a post I remember writing, but still can’t find), I realized that this past June marked my four-year anniversary writing for this blog. Four years! How on Earth did that happen?!? I feel like it was only yesterday that Wendy graciously invited me to be part of this team, and now – suddenly – four years have flown by just like that. My daughter was six years old and in kindergarten when I started blogging here. Now she’s ten and about to enter the fifth grade. Again – wow.
It’s Labor Day weekend and I am, ironically, working. Don’t feel too badly for me. I took Wednesday and Thursday off for some back-to-school shopping and “road trip” fun with my daughter. We had a fabulous time both days, my favorite bit being an impromptu stop to watch (and play in!) the impressive surf at a beach up the coast. Watching her dancing on the rocks and laughing into the waves had me grinning so hard my face hurt.
So, now that the holiday is upon us, I have some catching up to do. A lot of it. I was explaining to my daughter about my deadlines and then mentioned that my first order of business was to write this blog post.
“Mom, why are you writing a blog post if you’re so busy,” she asked.
“Well, because writing the blog post is part of my job, too.”
“But, it’s not your real job. I mean, you don’t get paid for it.”
“No, I don’t. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not my real job.”
And after she’d scurried off up the street to meet her friend, I thought about it and realized that while she is right – I don’t get paid for the writing I do here – I consider it just as (if not more) important than the writing that pays the bills. I’m grateful for the paying work I have, but I never feel like that’s my “real” work. Though I am self-employed, I consider that work my day job. I do my real writing work here and in my journals and when I’m working on stories.
Would my day be less stressful if I passed on writing this post and worked instead on my copywriting deadlines? In theory, yes; but in reality, no. I’d miss being here. I would feel cheated. And, I would feel like I’d shirked my real responsibility. I love writing these posts. As grateful as I am for the paying gigs that keep a roof over our heads and food on our table, I’m just as grateful for the way this blog gives me a creative outlet, a platform on which to share my thoughts about writing, and – most importantly – a fun and supportive community.
I may not be getting paid for it (yet), but I still manage to do what I love. And that is what makes life worth living.
What I’m Writing:
Talk about time flying – I can’t believe that the two writing workshops I signed up for a couple weeks ago are coming up this week. Now that they are almost here, I have to admit that I’m a little nervous. It’s been a long while since I took any kind of formal writing class. Though I’ve always had wonderful experiences at Grub Street, I am still intimidated by the idea of heading into the city to sit in class with people who I assume are all “real” writers who know what they are doing.
I’m also battling the deadline demons who are trying to convince me that I should skip class in favor of putting in some extra time on my client projects. Oddly enough, I found myself fighting for my writing life in similar circumstances the last time I took a Grub Street class. Though I was a little discouraged to realize that I’m still dealing with the same obstacles, I was encouraged to note that I didn’t give up then, and I’m not going to give up now. I may only be making progress in baby steps, but at least I’m still moving forward.
So … next week, I will be spending two evening in Boston at Grub Street headquarters. On Wednesday evening, I’ll be learning about creative nonfiction in Calvin Hennick’s workshop, Writing and Selling the Money-Making Essay. And on Thursday, I’ll be testing my funny bone with Wendy Wunder’s class, Lighten Up: Cultivating a Sense of Humor in the Writing of Serious Fiction. (I think there are a few seats left in this one. Just saying.)
So – today’s writing (apart from this post) is all about keeping my B2B copywriting clients happy. But next week … next week, two evenings will be about keeping my “real” writer happy. I can’t wait.
What I’m Reading:
Last weekend, my beau gave me the most wonderful gift – an entire afternoon sitting in a lounge chair on my deck with a book. It may not sound like an extravagance, but we so rarely take the time to just sit that it felt like the most indulgent treat in the world. We spent some time staring out at the boater activity across the street at the town wharf, but then I slipped between the covers of my book and disappeared for a while. It was bliss.
I found my paperback copy of Chris Cleave’s novel, Little Bee, in a box outside a neighbors house. It was tucked in amongst an eclectic collection of kids books, self-help tomes, and some small household accessories. It had been out overnight and the morning dew had caused the pages to ripple slightly, but the bright orange cover with it’s bold silhouette illustration seemed mostly impervious to the ravages of a single night out under the stars.
The facts of Cleave’s story are simple, but your reaction will not be. From the back cover:
We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we’ll just say this:
This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to dace. Two years later, they meet again – the story starts there …
Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.
I agree, so I won’t tell you what happens. I will tell you, however, that the story is riveting, the narrative voices are both endearing and discomforting, and the writing is excellent. This is not a story that will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but it will make you think.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- 13 Writing Rules by @AnnHandley
- The Things You Complain About are the Things You Could Be Changing by Shawn Coyne via @SPressfield
- An Online Portfolio Can Change Your Career: 10 Writer Websites We Love by @hellothefuture via @thewritelife
- How to Optimize Your Content for Authorship Success by Jaclyn Freedman via @problogger
- Build your audience not for marketing, but for learning by @mijustin
- A Little-Known Hack from Japan to Get Your Notebook Organized by @highfivebids
Finally, a quote for the week:
Thanks, as always, for sharing part of your weekend with me. Have a great one, and I’ll see you on the other side!
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 the equestrian arts, voice, and – occasionally – trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.