Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You Wanna Be a Writer? You Must Be Crazy...

You wanna be a writer? You must be crazy. You will spend hours, days, years of time devoting your "creative spirit" to things that will a) never get read, b) never make you money or c) never be finished.

You will work day jobs that you loathe. Jobs that dull your senses and zap your brain cells. You will pay your bills and daydream about writing by the beach, in a coffee shop, somewhere pleasant and serene. In the meantime, in the real world you will listen to people berate you, disrespect you and have you do things simply because they are the boss and you are there to hold their hand/fight their battles/count down the days until you leave.

You must be crazy to think that writing can save you. That writing can spare your sanity, instill hope and determination. You must be crazy to let being a writer be a continuous goal, to call it your life and dare allow yourself to believe that your job is just your job.

Writing has tricked you into stretching to see the smallest successes of life. Small as in seeing your name in a byline. Becoming overjoyed by your first paid writing gig (which actually paid only enough for approximately three trips to Starbucks). Writing has been cruel - the time you lost all your work when the delete button came out of nowhere. The time you poured your heart into a story only to have someone tell you that they "didn't get it." And, let's not forget the time when you wrote over two hundred pages of the next great American novel only to read through it and be ashamed at the trash you penned. Snooki has written a book. Levi Johnston. Get it together.

And, yet you love it. You keep going back to it. Willingly! You send out writing sample after writing sample hoping to find a job that pays you and sustains you on truly gratifying level...although that level keeps going one step higher. Who strives for that? For every twenty writing samples you send out, you are excited for that ONE response that comes two months later, as an afterthought, politely and formally thanking you for your submission, but with no other glimmer of an invitation that a job or gig or future in writing at all may be offered to you. Ever. You will save this email and look at it from time to time happy that SOMEONE responded and that someone will respond again.

You will develop a tough skin for rejection. You will duck a compliment because good is never good enough, there is always better. But you will also begin to recognize your value. Nothing is for free. And even when you find those gigs that pay you, you will continue to write "just for fun" and for topics that you have interest in, passion for because you know no other way. As a writer, you know/have been forced to accept that money isn't everything.

You will squeeze every possible working hour out of the day to finish that one last freelance assignment because you don't want to miss an opportunity because someone else worked harder. People will judge your work. People will be blunt in their comments. People will nod with understanding although they don't fully know where your craziness for this writing life lies.

And, what to tell them? One day I started writing and never stopped? You love to hear people's stories but sometimes you like reading them more? I am inspired easily. I know what I want and I am stubborn - two of my greatest strengths, I believe. Despite the more profitable lots in life, the more practical roads to take, I can't think of any other path than this one.

You wanna be a writer? You have got to LOVE it. Fall asleep writing with paper stuck to your face love it. Down to your last dollar and winging it love it. Move to new cities simply to fill your life with stories love it. Letting one quote, one lyric, one perfectly structured sentence light your whole world love it.

You wanna be a writer? Courtney, you must be crazy...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Timing Is Everything

Currently, I'm working 43 hours a week at a job that I am indifferent towards. There are a few days when I really lose it and then I HATE it, and all in all, it dulls my senses, makes me weary and decreases my level of caring to practically nothing.

Recently, I went on an interview for a writing project that if offered to me will span over a 3-month period of time and require a devotion of 20 hours per week. Also, I accepted the offer from one of the companies I freelance for to help them catch up on their editing work. I went in for a full day of training to learn the systems and procedure, so that I can work from home for yet another anticipated 20 hours a week.

Add on top of that my freelance writing assignments and blog work, social networking obsession and responding to emails of those I love and I seem to be pushing the time I actually have to lay down and breathe further and further into the dark hours of the night. If we're being honest though, working 83+ hours a week is nothing compared to some people. Doctors, journalists, mothers - they all work much longer hours on much less sleep for much bigger issues and manage to get it done.

The trick is to make time for what you want to do. Those people make time for their careers and/or families. They prioritize their time, which is probably one of the biggest lessons I learned during my four years of college. Right now, if the right opportunity presented itself to me, I would agree to take it on, knowing that I could squeeze a couple more hours out of my day all for the greater good.

You don't get unlimited chances to make life what you want it be. I want my life to be fun, successful and full of memorable moments. I make time to work on projects that will help me with the future of my writing career, I work to pay bills and try not to lose my sanity and I definitely schedule time for fun. I don't mean to run myself ragged, but even if I did, I wouldn't do it without my eyes open to the bigger picture.

Don't work to work. Work to achieve something. When one goal is reached make three more and that way you stay continuously active. An object in motion remains in motion...

I pray for the opportunities that will open doors. I embrace my sleep. I crave alone time. I will get it all done. I will watch my timing. I will not let anything pass me by. I will believe in my bigger picture and see how much I can fit into it.