Thank you to everyone who offered support and advice for holding it all together the other night. I hesitated between posting or not posting because I knew I could go on and on and whine and where’s the fun in that? I guess that’s one of those things I need to accept. I am not the type of writer/person/blogger who will be posting blogs that are full of fun stuff. I wish I had that kind of personality but I just don’t. I am an angsty person with angsty thoughts who writes angsty stuff. At least I have friends that post things that make me laugh. (If you haven’t read the latest from lisayee you simply must, but don’t be drinking anything at the same time.)
What I will endeavor to do is get this blog back on track about writing. Saying that, there is, at last, a review up for Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom. And a nice one at that which contains the lovely phrase, “Brown’s telling is vivid . . .”
In other writing news, last night I did something that was very difficult for me; I turned down several work-for-hire projects and crossed a couple of articles off my to-do list. In the past I have always snapped up every writing opportunity that came my way, never knowing where it might lead. I need to accept that I don’t have to say yes to everything. It’s hard because part of the saying yes is the ego gratification that comes with someone wanting your work enough to pay for it. Heady stuff. But as my brilliant husband pointed out to me, at this moment in my career I am in need of words more than money. Not that money isn’t good, great even, but I don’t need to chase every few hundred dollar opportunity that comes my way. I need to make words. Lots and lots of words.
We were talking about my new book project, MTLB. The opening scene has the main character in a new home, a home that is much different that the home she grew up in, a home on the wrong side of town where lots of kids have a parent or sibling in jail, where there are bars on the windows, where roaches and rats roam all too freely.
I asked him why was it so hard to let go of the work-for-hire project and the articles and all the other things on my to do list? Why can’t I just focus on my novels? Why am I so afraid to write this book?
He said, “Because you remember the rats and the roaches.”
But I am not in that place any longer.
I need to remember that.
You and your husband are smart. Clear the decks and write your book. Think of those small jobs as little vampires, even if they are cute vampires. I set up all this coaching and teaching stuff when I quit my job because I was afraid of not having enough money. You may have other reasons. In either case, it’s not the right kind of investment.
LOL. I love the image of cute vampires. It’s hard not to follow up on these “great” ideas for making sure we have enough money but you’re right, it’s not the right kind of investment.
Hey, well-written angst has as much of a place as well-written funny stuff.
It isn’t always as much fun at parties, but that’s a different matter. 🙂
I guess I’ll have to find a really interesting dress to make me more fun at parties, eh? 😉
Listen to your brilliant husband – stretching yourself too thin is not good for you!
And it’s hard to step back and look at something objectively when you’ve experienced it. Good luck though – it sounds like a worthwhile project!!!
Thanks for the support. It really does help. And brilliant husband, is well, blindingly brilliant. After all, he married me!
Susan, your post rang so true. This is where I am with my writing, too, and it’s part of the reason I’m leaving my current job. Most of my writing time is eaten up by stuff I feel like I “have to” write. I’m saying “no” more now so that I can focus on the “want to” writing. Hope it works for both of us!
Me too, Rebecca. This balancing is tough.
I remember “the rats and the roaches,” too. And I so relate to how difficult it is to write — much less talk about — that phase of my lfe. Yes, I know it’s healing, illuminating, interesting to look at from another point of view. And still…
Feeling sorta Scarlett O’Hara-ish: With God as my witness, I’ll never deal with rodents again!
Love the Scarlett O’Hara bit! So true, so true. Though we do have the occassional rat outside now, due to our location (also possums and racoons and other assorted creatures) at least they aren’t in the house. Sigh.
But I will continue to go toward the dark and icky memories because that’s where the juicy stuff is.
Turning down work-for-hire
I SO related to what you wrote both today and last time about work-for-hire projects. Good for you turning some down! That was my New Year’s resolution for 2006…to say no to work-for-hire and spend the year concentrating just on my OWN projects. It hasn’t worked. I just can’t say no. Usually because the projects pay pretty well and they don’t take me long, and I actually enjoy most of them! So I think, “I’ll just do this one.” Then this one turns into anotoher one…and another…You’re right…it’s ego-gratification…it’s nice to be wanted. And as writers, we’ve grown so used to dealing with rejection that it goes against our nature to TURN SOMETHING DOWN! But I’m struggling with this “balance,” too. I actually made a living from my writing last year. That was always my goal…to make a living from my writing. But does it count when probably half of it was work-for-hire? A lot of people would say it DOES…but I don’t know. Maybe *I* need to revise my goal? What I REALLY want is to make a living from MY OWN writing.
Re: Turning down work-for-hire
Maybe *I* need to revise my goal? What I REALLY want is to make a living from MY OWN writing.
I think this is a fabulous goal!
We need ego feedings but I guess the thing is that we need find them in our work and from supportive friends.
I have a motto that came from a professional organizer but I think works for everything. The organizer told me that if I wanted to bring home something new, I needed to get rid of something old. I think the same thing is true of writing; if we want to bring in something new, we have to let go of something old. So that’s my new guiding light.
Hi, Susan–I noticed that you had me friended (I don’t look at my user info too often, unfortunately), and wanted to add your LJ to my reading list, too, if that’s okay. Reading the last couple of entries, I *completely* understand where you’re coming from. I’m single and trying to write and do consulting work, but the consulting work tends to overwhelme everything else. I have to learn how to shift gears, but I’ve always had an automatic car. Argh!
So, this is a *heartfelt* congratulations for saying “no”. May it give you all kinds of good energy for your own projects.
Yes, I friended you and forgot to drop you a “hi” and hope it was okay with you. Please add away. There are no easy answers to the balancing thing, are there? And then if you’re your own only source of income, well, you have to eat, don’t you?
I can relate needing to shift but driving an automatic – on several levels! 🙂
Thanks for the support. I actually AM feeling more energized.
Here’s to remembering from whence we came. It makes us who we are today even if it makes it difficult (but not impossible) to say “no”.
Yes, we need to know, to own, where we came from in order to go forward with our writing.
“I am in need of words more than money”
Now there’s a great quote!!!
I love the premise of MTLB . . . write on!
P.S. Angst has it’s place too, you know . . .
I think I’m taping it to my monitor at work and at home to help me remember.
We’ll see with MTLB. There’s so much swirling around with the plot and no clear path but that’s part of the fun, right?
I think we’re singing the same tune lately as I’m feeling quite angst-ridden, too. Sounds like you’re making the right decision about focusing on your new project. Hang in there!
Thank you! Good luck working your own angst.
Nice review, Susan! Congrats!! 😀
Thank you! Cute icon.
My husband tells me I “think” too much. Why do I have to analyze everything. I tell him it’s what I do.
I know. Me too. Except I know that in his own arena he will think something to death to. I’m just glad that we balance each other out. And I can’t not think.
It’s so hard to make the transition to seeing yourself as an “author” as opposed to “someone with X job who also writes”. Turning down the work-for-hire writing means that you are putting stock in *yourself*, valuing the creative work you’re doing as much as you do your former “real” work. Think of your creative writing as a business–you need to cultivate your product, refine it, and make it the best it can be before it hits the market. Invest in MTLB!!
Well said. It is hard to put me first though. Years of conditioning. I appreciate the support.