Wednesday, June 20, 2007

To be, or Not to be... aka Should I or shouldn't I?

I've had a lifelong love affair with writing. I love imagining, concocting, inventing, twisting. It was my life's ambition when I graduated from high school to have a book in with a publisher by the time I finished college.

That didn't quite work out.

About five years ago I took a serious look at the writing I was doing and said to myself, "Step it up! It's what you want to do, so do it!"

Since then I've written a lot. And tried to juggle life and jobs and grocery shopping and visits to the dentist and family obligations and all that happy crappy. I joined RWA (that club for people who are serious about writing) and took some classes. I've had some amazing ideas, plotted some books that I know would sell, written and revised and laughed and cried and fell in and out of love with my characters and changed perspectives... I've done everything but finish the damn book.

It's frustrating, and I know much of the issue here is self-inflicted. I believe that I am a good writer, and I believe my voice is strong. I want what I write to be good (who doesn't?). While this is admirable, it's also a rut. Add to this a career change into a position that uses my gifts, a job I absolutely love and that actually pays me--but also saps my creative energy--and, well, there you have it: the writing isn't a priority, and it's hanging over me like that little black cloud that followed Andy Capp's pal around in the cartoons. (Or was it in Gasoline Alley? Can't remember.) My imagination is a raging flood; my dedication is a trickle.

I've been giving some serious thought to stopping. To deleting everything I have saved on files, to burning every scrap of paper I've written on. To just quit cold turkey and spend my creativity on other endeavors. Maybe forever. Maybe just for a year, or until Son is out of my hair. I don't know, but the thought is there.

This should be a real wrench, right? I should be banging my head on the keyboard, tearing my hair out, wailing and gnashing my teeth.

I'm not. I'm just sitting here, considering giving up what was my life's ambition without even getting a tear in my eye. I'm just sitting here thinking, "Hey, I could finish that cross-stitch in my sewing basket. I could re-do that bedspread into a quilt. I could sew up that groovy little purse pattern I bought LAST YEAR and never did because writing was supposed to come first."

I don't know what I'm going to do, here. I mean, there's plenty of stuff about writing that I love, but there's also lots of other stuff I could be doing in my spare time. I must give this some more thought; some long consideration before I make any move.


Rhonda Stapleton said...

((hugs)) I'm sorry...I know it's frustrating to write sometimes without getting quicker gratification, isn't it? Writing is TORTURE sometimes!!

ps - you've been tagged! Visit my blog for details:

spyscribbler said...

Aww, Elizabeth!

Why not give yourself permission to make it a hobby for awhile? You could "get serious" when Son graduates, but until then ... why not just do it when the urge strikes you, when you feel like it. Just for fun!

As for RWA being serious-writers-only, about 7300 of the 9,000 plus are "UNpublished," according to their standards.

They want the hobbyists money, so have fun with the people! Make it your women-friend time.

(Read: Please come to the Punderson Retreat next year!!!)

Robyn said...

If you want to take a break from being "serious" about it, go ahead- but DO NOT, under any circumstances, delete, burn, or otherwise destroy what you've written. There are several little stories of mine that I may never submit anywhere, but I like them. I feel good when I read them. That's really all that counts.

StarvingWriteNow said...

Thanks for your kindnesses. I do appreciate that. Spy--LOL! I wonder if I could hit up Sweetheart for that RWA fee as "Women-Friend" time! Robyn, I promise I won't throw stuff out. But I may box it all up just to get it out of my sight (and maybe get the black cloud to go away...)