I’ve been reading a lot about starving writers lately—most notably Hemingway’s early years in Paris and a fantastic excerpt from Mavis Gallant’s Spain diairies in The New Yorker.
Here’s the thing…I really don’t want to starve for my art. (For more on this, visit http://twochunkygirls.wordpress.com — but only after we start posting again…oops!)
And right about now you’re thinking, uh, you’ve abandoned this blog for seven months and you think you can just jump back in without an explanation?
Oh, just calm down.
I’ve heard for years that if you want to find the time to write, you will. Get youf “ass in chair, hands on keyboard!” Write 1,000 words a day, no matter what. And most of all, you should be willing to go without luxuries in order to make the time to write.
I don’t consider a mortgage and gas a luxury. But then again, I’m not Hemingway, this isn’t 1923 and this ain’t Paris. Being a starving artist is pretty impossible unless you want to move in with your parents, and ask yourself this: would Hemingway have written The Sun Also Rises or A Farewell to Arms in his parents’ basement?
So here’s the thing; I’ve tried to make the time to write—to work on this blog, to work on my other blog, to finish/rewrite/edit the two NaNo novels, one memoir, and one chick lit thingy from years ago while working a full-time job, commuting about 40 minutes each way, helping my mom through her radiation treatments while she and my dad lived with me, exercise three to five times a week for 30 minutes a day, cook healthy meals, hang out with my friends and also maintain a long-distance relationship.
And what did I end up feeling guilty about? Not writing. So I stopped trying.
Sometimes you just need to go to work and come home and be with your family and be with your boyfriend and be with your bestie and there really isn’t another hour to squeeze out of the day—at least not one when I was energetic enough to be productive.
My answer? I bailed on the blogs. I stacked the manuscripts in nice color-coordinated folders in a closet. And I promised to figure out a way to write more without giving up my house, my car, food, clothing, and Ambien.
The answer didn’t come right away, and when it did, it didn’t come from the direction to which I was looking. But I was offered a job that lets me work from home, allows me to live anywhere, adds about three extra hours to my day from cutting out primping, commuting, and packing lunch.
So that’s what I’ve been up to. And that’s why I’m back. But please don’t misunderstand me. The point to this post is not that, oh, I really wanted to write so I found a way to make the time; the point is that writing may be important to you, but sometimes real life is going to shake you down and you need to step back. When I stopped feeling guilty about not writing, I had time to find a new situation that gives me time to write.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite Dorothy Parker quotes (although there are SO many): “I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money.”
So here I am. My Accidental Muse is inspired again.
And now guess I MUST write another post so this one wasn’t a complete waste…