‘Tis the starting point. Yes, I’ve been writing for a while but not exclusively. As per my last post, this is the chosen path and it’ll be what I’ll write about from now on. The struggle and joy. Making myself accountable that is. To you, to myself, to my boys. Writing for a living. The thought makes me feel so at peace it almost worries me. At the same time, various uncertainties throw punches at my resolution like a bunch of unruly drunken sailors. What’s uncertain, you’ll ask – aside from the obvious of course – when one commits to writing almost exclusively?
Well, to keep with the title of my post, I’ll say it as it is. Real then.
First, I am not exactly what you’d call disciplined. I am an intermittent writer. Bubbling with too much energy at times makes me get up continuously during the writing of an article or a story. When I’m done preying on all that’s munchable in the cupboards and drinking enough green tea and coffee to keep me up for the next five days, I sit down and write. I’ve never missed a deadline but I have stories to tell about the bumps in the road I had to hop around to make the deadline. While I’m working to improve the discipline, although I am not sure if that Holy Grail is my cup of tea – no pun intended – I know for sure that I am committed to never missing a deadline. Feels good to know that.
Next, I am not one of those writers who can write in solitude. I don’t have an actual office, nor do I wish for one – case of sour grapes, you’d say, but I know I’m not meant to have one even for the fact that I can’t keep myself glued to a chair. I am, most times, in the lively company of my beloved boys. It means loud and it means interrupted. For a while I did entertain the idea that writing in an office facing green horizons and sunny skies would be conducive to earth-shattering pieces of wisdom, but somehow that’s not me. I write at my kitchen table, I write in the living room and I write in coffee shops when I feel like taking it outside. But quietness has never been my ally. If I’m desperate I buy my writing time with pizza dinners (albeit the clean, organic ones given my health/environmental freak side) and yes, screen time. My boys know it’s serious when I say “Do whatever you want, just let me finish this.” They love it. It’s free-for-all day.
I do not have a hidden box of money just in case the projects don’t show up in time or there’s some derelict payers out there who could not care less about my missing groceries. It’s beyond stressful at times. Yet not stressful enough to make me run for the first 9-to-5 job. Or maybe I’m way past that point. Either way, I know it’ll be like this and if you’d wake me up in the middle of the night I’d still say “yes, please, I’ll have that.”
I have severe writer’s block at times and if you ever had it you know it’s the equivalent of a long lasting chill down the spine. Days when I would rip my business cards to pieces in disgust. If I had them, that is. Maybe it’s good that I don’t. I know, I know, I have to repeat the mantra “this too shall pass” but I tend to not finish the thought when the money tap is the also called the idea tap in my case. Still, there is no giving up.
Yes I am scared but here’s the highlights of such endeavors: I feel good inside when I do it, so good in fact I am always looking forward to another day of writing and admit to getting rather crabby when things I don’t care much for get in the way. I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people who encourage me with more than words, friends who tell me how that post I wrote made their day. I write for magazines I once flipped through and thought “Maybe one day…” Well, the day came, again, and again. My boys often ask about my writing. I read stories to Sasha and he says “again” in a way that tickles me pink. Tony reads my blog and says “I like it, Mom” and he looks at me with such pride it makes me forget all about the rejection emails that I got over the last month. And then there are those times when I open my inbox and find yet another confirmation that things will work out. Then I set to work and put second-guessing my choice in the back seat (for a while). If the dishes pile high in the sink for a whole afternoon or an entire day and the boys munch on whatever they find in the fridge so be it. There is no complaining. All I’m hoping for is that they’ll be inspired to choose their paths according to what makes them wake up eager and willing. Inspired to stay true to themselves knowing that the color of real is not one but a whole rainbow.
PS: During the writing of this post I sewed a cape for Sasha’s fox fur which he affectionately calls Ferret, I helped him make a house for that odd but lovely buddy, I honored more than a few dozens “Look, Mom” and I got dinner started. Keeping it real, I am.