On Tuesday night, when I sat down with members of my critique group, I secured my goggles and executed a perfect swan dive into a pity pool. Thankfully, my fellow writers grabbed my arms and fished me out.
Almost two weeks ago, I returned to the grind of a Monday through Friday job. It’s work I’ve done before, so it’s familiar. I enjoy immensely the people I work with – they laugh at my jokes, which is always a good thing. Thank you, Emily and Sean. And I enjoy my patients. I work as a triage RN at a local cardiac practice.
The thing is, my heart’s just not in it. I know. I know. This is the real world, not the fantasy I create in my novels. And it’s pretty darn hard to be a writer when the electricity has been turned off because you couldn’t pay your light bill. But, still, if I had my druthers, I’d write full-time.
So when I sat down to share these sentiments with my critique group, I was quickly met with skepticism. One of the writers, Bill, is a police detective. When I said I didn’t know how I would find the time to write, he related the story of Frank Zafiro, a fellow police detective, who has written and published numerous novels, all while working full-time. Show off.
But I know there are others. Writers like Anthony Trollope, who wrote 47 novels, three times as many as Charles Dickens. He wrote from 5 to 8 each morning and then marched off to his job as postmaster.
Or a fellow children’s writer: Deborah Hopkinson. I met her at an writing conference several years back. Then, she worked full-time at a university. I’ll never forget her words: “You’ve got to want it more than sleep.”
The trouble is, I love to sleep.
But there are others things I love too. I love the idea of my dad reading my novel. I love the idea that someday, a kid will stumble onto my book, Bone Girl, and realizes it’s okay to be a band geek who plays a hand-me-down instrument. Or every writer’s fantasy: sitting in a darkened theater while the images that have inhabited my mind for so many years play across a movie screen.
Okay. These things, I love more than sleep. I’m heading to bed now; 5 a.m. comes early.
Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Next: rediscovering the joy of reading romance.
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Frank does set the bar pretty high, but you’re no slouch yourself. In the time it’s taken me to almost complete one novel, you’ve done two and a half. I like that our critique group makes me work to keep up. Helps me stay motivated. 🙂
Good luck, Annette!
And, by the way, I still work full time, as Vice President of Advancement for Pacific Northwest College of Art. But today is Saturday, and I am writing,
Holy buckets! Deborah Hopkinson read my blog. Deep breath, deep breath..