When most people begin to pursue writing as a craft or an art form they do so with the energy based on pure inspiration. These are the times when a phrase or a paragraph can grip you and send you hurtling along, producing words at a mad clip. Such moments are generally brief and are not enough to see you through to the end. At some point the inspiration will fade, the enthusiasm will wane, and you are left with something familiar to most of us:
When I was a young man I would begin many a yarn with the rush of inspiration. And then I would abandon those tales when the rush of energy abated and, often, those stories would die, lingering on the page to wither forever, waiting in vain for the headstrong youth who had given birth to them.
These days that rarely happens. The only time I will give up on a work is if I find that--at some point--the story is not working. One can find ways around just about any literary barrier, and if something needs to be tweaked, or if the plot needs to be redrawn, or if the characters have to be slapped about and born again, a solution can generally be found. But there are some times when all of the solutions seem to fall flat, and these are the only times that I retire from the field and move on.
I work two jobs. My day-job which pays the rent and provides my family with insurance and a retirement fund and a certain amount of security. Then I come home from that one, wash the grime of physical labor from my sweaty flesh, and begin my second job: writer. It's a tough situation, but it's the one that has faced me every day of my life since I decided that I was going to take the job of writer as a serious matter.
My ideal situation would be to make enough money as a writer to do that full time. But I've been working toward that goal for three decades and it still has not arrived. Some years are better than others, but I have never been able to make more than 50% of my day-job salary in my work as a writer. Maybe that day will arrive. But until it does, I have to keep on pushing.
I love the work of writing. But that's what it is. And not only work...it's hard work.
|Where I work.|