I’m not sure what kind of fate it is that makes me sicker after 4 days of resting to get rid of this flu, but here we are. However, it is imperative that I return to work tomorrow, so I will. It will be an interesting week, I think. Don’t worry, if this continues, I will, in fact, visit the doctor before the week is out. Oh, the drama!
I recently read a post by a friend about the frustration of juggling writing with a rather full life. That journal is here. I relate, and have always related. Particularly, at this time of year, work is so busy, and my energy is sort of low at the end of the day. Even before the flu.
How do we manage? The average human being can be pulled in so many different directions. I have a very demanding job. You have wonderful children which make your life fuller and more meaningful. Another friend is not only an accomplished writer, but also works on art or dancing or karate or some other pursuit that is just as serious to them as writing is. And of course, I love spending time with the love of my life. And my friends. You know, I even need to give my cats a good romp with the laser pointer. They are important to me.
The problem comes when it all seems to stack up. I’ve lost two days at work. I haven’t written for a week. For every three words I type tonight, I have to correct one because I’m ill. My blog is losing attention. I have so much Russian homework to do. I have to plot a game for this weekend. And the stories to read for the Hugos. Also the stack of books. And Abby Rath is tapping her impatient foot in my head.
Nevertheless, in spite of my anxiety and hand wringing, life goes on. Life is a big continuum, a conveyor belt full of the best sushi. You can’t eat all the sushi as it goes by on the conveyor belt. Sometimes you’re going to pick ikura. Sometimes you’re going to want kappa. (And yes, there really is conveyor belt sushi in Japan. It’s awesome. Or sugoi, if you prefer.)
I can’t do all things all the time. My life is a sum of the choices I make every day. And why do I make different choices? Because different days are different. Because sometimes I have to work, and sometimes I even have to get well. And on the good days, I can write.
I know, I know. Writers are supposed to be hard core. It’s the number one thing we do. Sit down. Write. Send things out. No one is saying use the other things to avoid writing. If you’re lying to yourself, if you never write, you may want to look at that. But I’m saying that it *is* okay if you don’t write some days, or even sometimes. Because that’s going to happen. Especially if you have any of the other aspects of life I’m talking about above. Gonna have to accept that and live with that. If you want to be happy.
If it’s not cool for a writer to be happy, well, I respectfully disagree. I don’t smoke clove cigarettes either. I’m such a square writer. 😀
I am serious about my writing. Normally, I dedicate my twelve hours a week, and even though I’m a little behind right now, I’ll get my hours in eventually. But you know, as I live my life, perhaps the point isn’t to be the speediest writer, or to send the most things out. The point is to make my art a natural part of my life, to make progress on my art, to move forward. These things take time. Deadlines are important, you betcha. But there’s more than that. I’m always going to be writing, and I’m always going to be moving forward on something. The end is not the important thing. The habit, the process, and the art. That’s important.
Once, Donald Maass said, addressing a group of people that I was among in his workshop, that writers are the kind of people who live good lives and writing compliments that life. There’s no way I can expect the seeds of creativity to grow on barren ground. The writing that I need to do, I need to plant in the soil of a rich, fertile life full of good experiences and bad experiences. Writing is not the only monolithic thing I should be doing, else I am not successful. Writing should be a constant companion that walks by me and enriches me, a part of a very fulfilling whole.
That doesn’t mean I won’t sometimes be frustrated by the time I don’t have to write. But yes, I am a writer. And I do other things. And that makes me a better writer. It makes you a better writer too.
With apologies for any lack of cohesion due to that queasy kind of vibe.