I want to learn all I can, live as wisely as I can, and savor every moment on the journey.
It’s hard to be patient when your dreams seem so close but just out of reach.
I want so much to write great books that will impact people, as other great books have impacted my life. (I’ve written about this here before, of course, though now I’m giving you more detail.) But, as Virginia Woolf proved in her book A Room of One’s Own, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”—or, I might add, great nonfiction (like hers!). I love and want to write both! I’ve got the room of my own part, but I don’t have the money—that is, a sufficient and reliable income that would free me from having to work a day job, also known as a life-drainer.
My husband and I have talked about the possibility of just getting by on his income alone, but we’ve decided that’s not the wisest course for us right now. For one thing, we have a mortgage, and for another thing, we would love to have children at some point, which means that we need to be saving as much as we can for that now. And for another thing, I’m honestly just a bit wary of how it might feel to me and how it might potentially change our relationship if I were totally dependent on him. I greatly value my sense of independence.
And I don’t want to just “temporarily” quit my job to focus on full-time writing for a limited period, because if I needed my day job back, it probably wouldn’t still be here…and there aren’t a lot of other suitable day jobs that would allow me to squeeze writing into my free minutes!
So what I really want, need, dream of, yearn for, and work towards is the ability to earn my living through writing. And ideally, I’d like it to happen while I still have this day job to fall back on.
What has been adding urgency to this dream is, as I mentioned, our desire to eventually have and raise children. Obviously that’s not something that can wait forever, though it’s also, of course, definitely not something to rush into. But as of now, my personal “rule” is that I need to be earning a full-time income through writing first, before adding children into my life. I know some mothers work outside the home and also raise children, but I can’t fathom how I would do that, even with daycare, and still maintain my health and sanity (remember, I have a history with fatigue issues). Working a day job is draining enough as it is, and I would want to be a fully healthy person, not three-quarters of one or less, to raise children.
My former plan to achieve my goal was freelance writing, mainly for clients who hired me to write stuff for them (both locally and through Elance.com), and also trying to learn the ropes of freelance writing for magazines. But both have felt really boring and frustrating to me. I want to write my own stuff.
At the beginning of this year I decided to wrap up my freelance writing business (but still keep it open for existing clients and as a backup plan) and pursue my own writing instead. I still don’t feel totally free to just write whatever I feel like, because my pet projects are more long-term, and I need faster, more standard (read: easily publishable) projects for now. But that’s okay, I can deal with that.
So I’m starting to focus on writing children’s fiction, which is something I really enjoy and am relatively good at, though I need both more practice and more focus. (I don’t put my children’s writing efforts on this blog, since you guys are not quite that audience!)
I know it still sounds like a long shot, but I believe I can write and sell children’s books, enough to earn the modest living I seek. No, I know I can, and I know I will! I am DETERMINED. I’m also itching to tell you about the book I’ve started right now (plucked from my long list of “children’s story ideas” that I always keep!), but that would be unhelpful for me.
However, just as for the protagonist of my story’s plot, I too have an immediate obstacle to face: I can’t really start focusing on writing the story yet, because first I have to finish this looooong ghostwriting job for one of my freelance clients. It’s a super boring book (unless you’re a dentist who wants to get more patients) that I’m ghostwriting for him, and I’m on the last (eleventh) chapter—but it still feels so far from being done!
Plus, I can’t even work on that today because first I have to write a little paper for the online course I’m taking in American Indian History (which has been really interesting and enlightening, by the way!). That’s another thing I dream of: finishing this (second, real) bachelor’s degree.
So, now I must get back to work. I thought it might help me focus to just tell you guys about this and get it out! (As I wrote about before, I tend to not be able to do writing work unless my creative spirit gets some attention first…which is why I also have some new poems I might share with you soon, too.) Thanks for listening! And please, all you realists out there, can you be gentle with my dreams? 🙂
As dear Longfellow said, I must “learn to labor and to wait.”