No, this isn’t a post about an existential crisis or Les Miserables. It’s about who I am as a writer.
I recently attended the Antioch Writers’ Workshop Spring Seminar and two recurring themes throughout the day were “be a good literary citizen” and “figure out who you are as a writer.”
Being a good literary citizen includes doing things like spreading the word about books you are reading, writing online reviews of books, helping other writers with advice and encouragement, etc. Basically, be a good person as a writer. In the interest of being a good literary citizen, I have tried to promote other books and writers on Twitter more. I realized I have been a complete slacker about writing reviews, so I plan to review books I have read on Amazon, Goodreads, and on my blog. I have also had the chance to write author profiles for LiteraryMama.com, which has been a lot of fun.
So being a good literary citizen was the easy theme of the day to deal with. The more difficult one was figuring out I am as a writer.
Some of the people there talked about how they spend a few hours in the morning writing, or they get up at 4:30 a.m. to have some quiet time to write. I have a full-time job outside the home, so I can’t devote large chunks of the day to writing. As for the early morning, I’m pretty sure me being awake at 4:30 a.m. on a regular basis is one of the signs of the apocalypse. I also have a family and I make jewelry, and I’m not willing to give up time for either. Let me be clear and note I am not saying that people who write give up time with their families. I admire those who do get up at crazy early hours just so they can still have time with their families. My unwillingness to be up before the buttcrack of dawn just to write left me questioning my commitment and wondering if I really am cut out to be a writer. It bothered me enough that I was having a hard time sitting down to write a post about the seminar, even though I really enjoyed it.
Okay, maybe this post is a little bit about an existential crisis as a writer.
After some thought, here is where I am. Yes, I am cut out to be a writer and if I could afford it, I could totally quit my day job and be a full-time writer. But my daytime gig is too good to give up. There is no way I could get up early to write, and writing too late in the evening is energizing and keeps me from easily going to sleep (I’m a tired, cranky bear during NaNoWriMo). So when do I write? Well, I have lunch breaks and I can write for a bit early in the evening and on the weekends. Woohoo! I found my time!
I got the time sorted out, now what are my goals as a writer? Like pretty much every other writer, I want to put stories and blog posts out in the world for people to enjoy reading. I want to have an overall positive message and vibe, because there is waaaayyyy too much negativity and crap in this world already. Writing isn’t my main source of income (though I would love for it to be), so I am not relying on book sales for putting food on my table. However, if I am fortunate enough to get a book deal or if I end up self-publishing a book, I will bust my butt to promote it, because that’s just me. I have one book I am getting ready to unleash on the world, so I will wrap that up and start queries later this year. I’ll also keep writing on my blogs and trying some creative nonfiction.
Well, that was liberating. Now I just need to move forward and not let myself get discouraged if I have to miss a few days of writing here and there or be frustrated if I get interrupted five (make that six, no seven) times while trying to write a short blog post. It’s going to happen.
If you have any advice about finding time to write and minimizing interruptions, I would love to hear them. I’m sure others would, too, so please leave a comment on this post. Thanks!