Until fairly recently, I often thought of my chief professional goal as writing full-time. No day job. No distractions. I pictured a sparsely furnished room with just me and my laptop, typing away, probably next to a window overlooking the snowcapped mountains that surround my mansion/fortress. I guess I’d still be interested in the mountain stronghold with room enough to play helicopter quidditch, but I’m starting to rethink the full-time writer plan.
Here’s the thing. Once upon a time, I was unemployed for nearly a year. During that time, in the hours between applying for jobs and bitterly auditing my life-choices, I didn’t exactly crank out the prose. Granted, I wasn’t intentionally without work and my writing wasn’t paying the bills, but I think I got a fairly accurate impression of what it would be like to have my day to myself, to work from home. I didn’t enjoy it.
I’ve noticed that I’m often most inspired/productive after a day of doing (as opposed to thinking/reflecting). Sure, reading gives me the itch to write too, but a full day of reading fills my head with whispers that make sleeping difficult, let alone writing. I wouldn’t say my authorial voice is fragile or fleeting, but it does, occasionally, like to close shop in the presence of other great voices.
Beyond that, I think of my role models. Few, if any, of my favorite writers had the luxury of writing full-time. But, I wouldn’t call them fake or frivolous or uncommitted to the craft. Was Eliot really more of a bank clerk than a writer? Bram Stoker a personal assistant? Is David Sedaris more of a shark-dentist and combat astronaut? Okay, I don’t really know what David Sedaris does, but the point stands.
Anyway, goals can change. Now, I think I’ll turn my attention toward writing well and often rather than writing full-time. Hell, I don’t like doing anything all the time, why should writing be any different?