My summer has literally disappeared and I’m damned if I know what happened to it. One minute it was April and we were opening up the lake cottage and the next, it’s almost September and the nights have already turned cool. My personal life has been an upheaval of joys and sorrows, while in the meantime, I’ve been working practically nonstop all summer long. Working is always a good thing, except that it interferes ferociously with my writing time. If I work for eight or ten hours, I’m loathe to sit down at the computer again after I stop for the day.
But yesterday, I worked on my romantic suspense and finished a whole new chapter. Now, I’m aching to continue writing—the widow’s tale is brewing and the time travel story sends me to my little recorder or my notebook as ideas keep cropping up. I love that feeling when the creative juices are flowing. It’s almost sensual. I can spend hours here, world-building and refining characters and bringing a story to life and then come away exhausted, but exhilarated. The current story sloshes around in my brain even when I’m not at the computer—while I’m driving, weeding, vacuuming, standing at the kitchen sink…and characters knock at the door of my mind begging to be let out. When that happens, it’s as if I’ve found my true calling, my life’s work. But then life and work interfere again…
My critique partners are amazing and so prolific that I’m constantly in awe of their abilities to produce story after story. I get distracted by life and work, but they steam through almost anything and continue writing. I really would love to be like that when I grow up as a writer, but maybe it’s not my style to be so prolific. Maybe I’m not going to crank out books at a fantastic rate. Frequently, when I’m dispirited and wondering if I’m any kind of a writer at all, I have to remind myself that I’ve already had a book published and that people are asking me for more.
I’ve thought about letting the editing go for a while and just concentrating on writing, but I’m too much of a coward. The day job pays for the pleasures, like the lake cottage and boat gas, pedicures and trips to see my grandson. I want those things too, so does that mean that I’m not focused enough on the craft to be a truly successful writer?
When I’m writing, I’m happy, complete. When I’m not writing, I’m worrying about not writing, but I also love getting paid and putting my aching feet into a pedicure tub or cruising on the lake on a warm sunny afternoon. I’m thinking I may need to simply give myself the time in the mornings to write before I begin my paying gigs. Perhaps a more disciplined schedule would help.
Should I be suffering more? More willing to give up pleasures in order to write? Is it enough for me to write when I can? I don’t know, I’m asking…that’s the question for the Universe today. Am I truly a writer if I’m not obsessed with writing?