Still recuperating. May be coming down with something. Just finished revising a short story that will be released in an anthology next summer. Really, really, excited about that.
I just read this post from John Scalzi, called “What You Have to Give Up to Write”:
Got a letter today from an aspiring novelist who is wondering if wanting to write means that one has to be willing to sacrifice a great deal for one’s writing and craft. Because one hears of writers who have made great sacrifices in order to work on their writing, including giving up jobs, friends and spouses in order to put their words into being. Does one have to be willing to put that all on the line for one’s art?
Nah. What you really need to do is cut an hour of TV watching out of your day. Seriously, now: Keep your job, keep your marriage, keep your friends, keep the kids. Just drop an hour of TV.
Because, look: If you’ve got an hour a day to write uninterrupted, you can probably manage between 250 and 500 words a day. Do that five days a week, and in the course of a year that’s between 65,250 and 130,500 words; i.e., hey, you’ve gone and written a novel. All while keeping your day job and not turning into a hermit. This is not complicated.
So true. So very, very, true.
Here’s the thing—I gave up my job as a lawyer to write, but that was no real emotional burden. I was happy to do it. As for friends, I’ve met wonderful people that I never would have because I write, and my life is better for it. I have never been asked to compromise my values (well, that’s not true…but I stood firm), never gone a day without work, and have a purpose to my life that has evolved and grown as I have over the years. And if there are long hours, the occasional sleepless night, deadline sweat—then the rewards more than make up for such trivial inconveniences.
Does one sacrifice for one’s art? Perhaps. Writing a story can be emotionally draining, and time-consuming. But not in any way that should make you, or the people around you, miserable. Not unless that’s what you prefer, and there are folks like that. Published or not—in a great job or not, no matter what you do—you’re still made of the same stuff. You are still the same person you were prior to success—or failure. Some people were jerks before they started writing, and they’ll be jerks afterward. Some people can only function in chaos, while others are happy with peace. And sometimes, it just depends.
Anyway. I’m off to bed. I’ve got a Dark Wolverine script to start writing, a new Dirk & Steele novel to begin crafting—and Suzanne Brockmann’s latest should be landing on my doorstep tomorrow.