Imaginary Vs Real Writing Life

I have this wonderful imaginary dream whereby if I were a full-time writer everyday I would awaken refreshed and inspired, jot down a few ideas over breakfast, walk the dog whilst fleshing them out and be ready to sit down with a cuppa to type out a few hundred, possibly even a thousand, words before lunch. Then, after a nice relaxing lunch catching up with my favourite TV shows, I’d get back to it and then finish the day with another walk with the dog.

However, I’m not a full-time writer. Instead I have a part-time job – which fortunately I love – and a chronic illness, but over the last week and the week approaching I’m having to put all my energies into fulfilling demands for which I get paid for: rather than try and make real my idealised dream of writing. As such, I’ve not written anything in two weeks, and am unlikely to write anything much in the upcoming week or so. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Sad, in that I’m not writing, but not so distraught that it’s making me open up my novel and dedicate myself to it for fifteen minutes everyday.

I’ve lost my drive – I’ve noticed it coming for the past month or so: it isn’t that I don’t want to write, or that I’ve lost insterest in my novel, I simply don’t feel I have the right energy to be able to do it justice right now. While I admit that sometimes three hundred bad words are probably better than no words at all, right now I don’t even feel capable of low mediocrity.

I think perhaps I need a break. It goes against everything I’ve read about needing ‘regular routines’ for writing: about how you need to commit yourself to it as though it were your real job and do it even when you don’t feel like it. But, the more I feel I am forcing myself into having to write the more difficult it is to form the words on the page. With everything else going on right now it’s an added pressure rather than a welcome escape. Sometimes we need to put things to rest for a while, concentrate on differing priorities (which, for the moment has to be my paid employment) and then I can find a time, later, when I can get back to the roots of what it was I truly enjoy about writing, refreshed and inspired.

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2 responses to “Imaginary Vs Real Writing Life

  1. I write non-fiction and journalism as my full-time living. It’s not nearly as amusing as we’d like. I write a fair pile of stuff that interests me very little — but the income it provides allows me to buy food and pay the mortgage. Only a very small percentage of writers get to live a life of leisure and comfort.

  2. Wow. Sorry to hear you are going through this. I feel for you and I know it really sucks. I’ve been through something like this. I didn’t write for years because I burned myself out by going by the old adage that you must treat writing like a job to make it successful. I remember reading once that Tom Petty said that he didn’t care if he made a living making music or not. It was what he loved and that is what he was going to do. I took this to heart. Sure, I’d love to make a living out of it, but its not what drives me. I don’t even think about that stuff now. I think about the story and how I love writing it. If success and fortune is in the cards, then so be it, but its not what drives me. Its the story and the writing itself. I wish you the best of luck!

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