One of my writer friends commented to me this week: “You are so lucky to be able to write full-time.”
I responded: “I’m very blessed…”
People who WANT to write, but find themselves with less-than-ideal circumstances have told me how they wish they were in my position, with loads of time for writing. I’ve been there. I get it. Really.
Every time I finish another story or edit for hours without interruption, I feel that sense of, “Man, this would not have gotten done for MONTHS if I were working the old 9 to 5.” (Or, more accurately for most of my jobs, 8 to 6, or 7 , or…) “Extra” things, like this blog or a casual conversation with another writer over coffee, wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have flexibility and freedom to wrestle my schedule to meet my creative needs.
Having the opportunity to focus on my writing life has come with its share of sacrifices. We moved from a home with a scenic overview and 2,200 square feet of space into a 900 square foot apartment. My old “library and office” was a room almost half the size of our current apartment, with its own walk-in closet and attached bathroom. Now, my “office” is a desk that sits where a dining table is supposed to go, and we eat off our laps in front of the TV while the beagle watches in anticipation. We sold, gave away, or trashed about half of our “stuff”. We downsized from two cars to one. (The Big Blue Whale doesn’t count as a second car, yet…) I’ve taken on more of the household chores, we eat at home more, I shop cheaper and smarter. I’ve given up any claim to the title “breadwinner” and I have to come up with creative ways to answer the casual-acquaintance question: “So, what do YOU do for a living?”
Do I regret it?
Not a chance.
The reality is, I don’t miss the “stuff”. I don’t miss the old house. I’m happy where we are. Even on those weeks when I have to say, “Yeah, we’ll want to wait to buy that until the next pay day…” we are still living in luxury compared to most of the rest of the world. We live in a beautiful area where, when things get crazy, a ten minute drive will drop us on the beach where we watch the sun dipping into the Gulf and think about what any of this even means.
I have the freedom to write. A lot. I have the time to read. A lot. I have an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a post-MFA life, to connect with other writers, to plan and think and dream.
I’m very thankful, indeed.
Thanks, folks, for another stellar week. I’ve enjoyed all of the discussion, the emails, the questions. Hope you got something out of it, too.
Have a great weekend. Happy writing!