I confessed today to a dear friend that I don’t think I can write unless things are “just right” personally. And right now, they are not.
I’m fine–no major health concerns, no significant depressive episodes, no trauma or grief. But things aren’t “just right” either.
For the past year, I have had a pretty good run of part-time and contract jobs, carrying three simultaneously at one point (not counting photography gigs). I never thought I’d be that guy who has multiple hustles. But I had to be in order to reach my personal goals.
But now I yearn for a traditional 9-5 gig. Out of my four novels, only one was completed while I wasn’t working, and that was Birth of a Dark Nation. The rest were completed while following a strict schedule of working during the day and writing and editing on the nights and weekends. When I wrote Lazarus in particular, I gave up almost an entire year of “going out” on the weekends in order to write it. For subsequent novels, I think I found a better balance.
Now, with so little writing going on, I’ve been able to accomplish some things from my vision board and I feel great! Very happy, for the most part. I traveled a lot more in 2015 than I usually do. I did stuff for me–things that made me happy on my own terms–but I also did a lot of philanthropic work that is only growing in 2016. Having a flexible schedule was instrumental in reaching those personal goals.
It’s not a sustainable model for me, though, and I’d really like to have a full-time job with benefits so that I can approach my goals in a more mature way. Last year was adventurous and rewarding, but I’d like to return to a more organized and secure lifestyle. That security allows me to feel more free to write.
Quietly, I also think that’s a block in my romantic life. I am happily single and child-free, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe I’m not jumping out there socially because I feel like I don’t bring as much to the table as someone who earns more money.
Writing has never paid all the bills. It has, indeed, paid some, and for that I am grateful. But I don’t think people understand the life of a writer. Yes, writers should always be writing, but the amount of income I generate from publishing one novel a year is not enough income to live on.
I know what I’m working toward now, personally, professionally, vision board stuff, and the like. The writing will come. Other things have to come first. Stick with me.