THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF BEING A WRITER
For me, writing isn’t something that I do. It’s what I am. I am a writer. I love it. It’s my breath and I was put on this good Earth to do just that… to write.
There’s nothing better than carving out characters, giving them life on paper and then seeing them published for the world to enjoy.
To see them grow from a barely there idea to a fully fleshed out story, there’s something pure in it.
Something other worldly.
I’ve had numerous short stories published over the last couple of years, and there are a few more to follow in 2013. I somehow fell into writing erotica and haven’t looked back since. I love it, and usually ramp up the tension by putting a thrilling edge running alongside the erotica.
I’ve been told I have a very forceful, almost staccato style of writing. Perhaps it’s because I’m born on the fourth of July. I’m fiercely independent, and so is my writing.
It’s as unique as my finger print.
That’s what I believe anyway.
I have been writing ever since I can remember, and there’s nothing in this world I’d rather do. So the goal is simple—to become a multi-published writer who earns enough money to do it full time.
That’s the ecstasy.
But at the moment, I’m in agony.
How do I know? My best friend asked me how I was feeling, and I replied, “Sad, I’m feeling sad and I don’t know why.”
“You’re sad because you’re not writing,” she said without missing a beat.
“How do you know that?”
“Because you’re spending eight hours here, at work, when you should be fulfilling your soul purpose.”
It was like a lightning bolt of realisation.
I’m sad because I’m not writing.
But I have to pay the bills. A long spell of unemployment a while back has me working the nine to five… and honestly, I don’t mind (have you ever tried to live on £120 Government Assistance every two weeks?). I want to work; I need to work.
But how do I stop feeling sad? It’s like my soul is crying out because it’s missing something.
It’s missing writing.
But how do I write? When do I write? I’m so exhausted after work, its dinner, bed, sleep, work, and repeat five days a week.
The weekends are spent catching up with the house work and simply getting my breath back.
Then Monday morning hits.
So, dear reader… have you been through this? Do you have any advice you can offer? How do you balance the world of work with the universe of your writing? How do I achieve the greatness that you know you’re supposed to achieve and pay the bills in the mean time?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, your tips for finding balance and doing what you love.
Find me at tahiraiqbal.com.
Tweet me at @tahiraiqbal
I have been through this. I had a job that quickly got out of hand and went from supporting my writing to crowding out my writing. Every day, I felt the way you describe: like something in me was being crushed. At the same time, I had bills to pay. That job kept me so distant from my life purpose — writing — that I was on point of tears at least once daily and exhausted the rest of the time, but I didn’t think I could leave.
Then God did me a favor, Tahira. I lost that job.
My current job keeps the bills paid and allows me time to write. I wish I had even more time, but that hunger is healthy. Plus I don’t feel like the essential part of myself is being destroyed. That counts for a lot!
You asked for advice. Mine is twofold.
1. Find 15 minutes every day — or even most days — to write something. A drabble over lunch. Something hot upon waking. Some tension on the transit. It only takes a little to restore your writer spirit, and a little will have you seeking a little more.
2. This one is harder. Evaluate how badly you need this particular job. If your current job is crushing your life spirit, it is sensible to prospect for another. That might sound crazy; after all, you have a job and financial responsibilities. Trouble is, we have to be responsible to our writer selves, too.
I have been where you are and survived! You are not alone. I and the Universe and your stories are cheering for you — up in the stands every day, even when it’s rainy and cold and the score doesn’t look so good. You will prevail, fifteen minutes at a time!
Let me know if I can help you.
This seems to be a very timely discussion! Especially for those of us struggling to meet the last of our 2012 goals and staring at 2013 coming up! I wrote an article that I posted on my RWA chapter’s loop last Friday with some tips you might find useful. Here’s the link:
I’ve taken class after class about time management, and until this year, I’d miraculously found a way to do it all. Write, work, be a mom…but sadly, my health has not been the best this year and everything came to a screeching halt. I totally understand the depression from not writing. I absolutely feel your pain.
Maybe your goals need to change. Instead of focusing on how you’re not writing, maybe focus on finding 30 wasted minutes you have each day. I can slam down 1K of crappy writing in 30 mins. If you do this for 30 days you’ll have half a novel finished–even if it is a mess. It’s there. It’s progressing and you can be proud of yourself again.
Don’t focus on what you’re not doing as much as finding a way to do it. I’m the first to admit, I’ve not been writing this year, mostly because I didn’t want to–whether from illness or just plain ole lazy. 🙂
But, yeah, I could have not watched one episode of Master Chef, or some similar program and found an hour here or there. Does that mean it will be the most inspiring work. No, but eventually it will. Good luck!!!
I can’t give you any writing advice but i have always been a follower of lists. I make a list the morning of things I have to do, want to do, and hope I get the chance to complete. Also works in progress.
When I got into the routine of doing these lists, it was amazing that I had accomplished so much. I guess that comes from being a teacher.
Thank you all SO much for the wonderful advice and comments, I’m so touched that you took the time to offer such words of wisdom. And… I don’t feel so alone in this.
Alexa – 15 mins…. I can do that, and I’m going to. Also, your comment about finding a job that pays the bills, but doesn’t squash me personally, that’s something I hadn’t thought about! I take my job home with me (not in the work sense, but I think about it once I leave…) so that advice is awesome.
D – thank you for the link!
Rachel – I wish you the best of health first and foremost, and OMG, you are so right, I need to stop thinking about why I’m not writing and starting thinking about how I can write, eg the 15 mins a day Alexa wrote about, or the 30 mins wasted… Yes, I know exactly where they!
Joye – I am a list maker too, hello there! I do this a lot and it really focuses me… but guess where I do all of my list making – at work! I need to make personal lists!
Thanks again to all of you 🙂 I was debating whether to be so honest in my guest blog entry, but I really glad I was.
Please enter me in your $20.00 gift card contest. I love reading your books.
I am not a writer, so I can not offer advice on that.
As for time management…well, with 4 kids, oldest living here with her hubby and baby, plus MY hubby…I never have time!! Except when I go into the bathroom. I lock my bedroom door, or just the bathroom door, and sit in there. Now, wait…NOT always on the pot!! LOL!! I have a stool in there, and a lot of times, I just sit on that and read a book or even just play a game on my phone for a few minutes. When I come out, I’m calmer.
I wish you luck!!
dragn_lady at yahoo dot com
Tahira, I know exactly how you feel. The advice and suggestions everyone has generously shared are all terrific and I just want to add that writing can be very solitary so above all connect with other writers such as on this blog or others. The support and encouragement of other writers is such a boost!
Thank you Stacy and pc – really helpful! I like the toilet one! Who knew… it could be a place of calm! Thanks also for telling me that I’m not alone… that really helps 🙂 All the best to everyone who’s dropped by to comment xx
Laura! Got you!!
The rest of y’all, thanks so much for all the good advice. I’m scooping it too!
And Tahira, you can find mini-blocks of time, even if it’s on the bus or train to work. You have a lovely writing style. Use your gifts!
Thank you DD for that lovely compliment and mini blocks… What a great idea!! X
Sorry, behind on reading the posts so I am working my way backwards, lol. Even if you are having trouble squeezing out enough time to write, maybe carry around a digital voice recorder or something like that, then you can record your thoughts so that you are still getting them down…then, on your rare days off, you have something to work off of.
Thanks ELF – that’s great advice! I do carry a pen… and then have to hustle napkins when ideas strike, so maybe a digital recorder would be better!