The fact that this is being posted on Valentine’s Day is coincidence.
I am embarking on another adventure. I quit my day job and I am moving to a cabin on the cusp of the Lost Coast. While I will still need to work a day job to support me while I write, the hours will be part-time or swing shift so I can spend my mornings writing on a full-time schedule.
I know I can do this because for the past five years I have worked a full-time day job and in this last year I have managed to write more than I have ever written in my entire life.
I can do this because I made the conscious effort to stop the whining about not having enough time to write.
I can do this because I finally let go of the resentment I had for family members who were fortunate enough to have spouses support them financially while they penned their own books.
I can do this because I Finally Get It.
My confidence in my talent has always been strong but my confidence in my ability to follow-through on anything was weak. I started ten dozen novels. I dove headfirst into the first 25-50 pages of each with joy and then snapped my neck on the bottom of the shallow end. I felt like a failure. I felt weak. I berated myself and blamed others (employers, mostly) who used up the time I pretended I would have spent writing.
This has changed. The transition felt like a long process (okay, twenty-plus years is a pretty long time) but it also felt like an overnight shift. I simply sat down last year and wrote an entire book in three weeks.
I had been writing short story after short story after short story in the wee dark hours of the mornings before work, fine-tuning my voice. The novel was unexpected. It was like sitting down to pee and then pushing out a baby instead.
My brain cracked open. This is what they are talking about! All of the books I had read in the past, the ones telling me how to be a creative person, how to write a novel, and how to follow my bliss, they suddenly made sense. I’d read about how to meet Mr. Write and then -WHAM- I freaking wrote him.
I thought I knew what love was when it came to words but really, I had felt betrayed by words. They led me on for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty pages and then they’d take a big ol’ shit on my brain.
Make her a cop, not a doctor! Make him gay! Two kids, not three! Set it in San Francisco! Sacramento! Portland! New York! Nevermind that you’ve never been to Portland or New York! You’ve seen pictures! She lives in a two-story house, not three! An apartment! A condo! Her name should be Ethel, not Lucy! What are you doing? Go back and rewrite the whole thing right now since you obviously didn’t get it right the first time! What is taking you so long? You’ve only written 30 pages! You’ve got hundreds more to go!
Meanwhile, I’d actually written 500 pages without realizing it. Just that same 30 to 50 pages, over and over and over again.
I tend to get wanderlust every few years. Always searching for something new, something inspiring. This move may be part of that… but wow, where before I wandered alone, now I have Mr. Write.