8/25/08

Sacrificing to the Writing Gods

When I think of sacrifice, I think of an ancient Aztec alter stained with the blood of many poor souls that were chosen to appease the gods of the day. This visual is how I always tend to view sacrifice and often times it leads me to be shortsighted. I think, "Man, it stinks that I have to give this up," even though in my heart of hearts I know it's for the best. When I am told I need to sacrifice something my first reaction is to vehemently oppose it and I begin to bargain with myself why I shouldn't give in.

However, as I slowly climb in years, I think I am learning to accept sacrifice in a different light. I call it by a simpler title: change. Sometime in February or March of 2007, I decided to quit smoking. I fell off the wagon many times over that period of time, though I smoked significantly less. I haven't smoked a cigarette in over a month and don't even have cravings anymore. This instance wasn't really a sacrifice, because smoking is terrible. It was change. I found my metabolism isn't what it used to be, so I implemented another change: regular exercise. I'm trying to keep food journal to induce more change. I'm finding a lot of parts of my life could use a little tweaking and today I have found another part that needs change: the revival of my writing.

Now, I'm reading this book called Time to Write by Kelly Stone and with every page it is becoming clear that in order for me to return to the promised land of freelance writing, I must change. The problem is...you guessed it...sacrifice. It is unsettling to think that I'll have to sacrifice hanging with Steve, with family, with buddies to make time for my writing. It makes me cringe to think that I might have to once again ditch pleasure reading. So many years I was deprived of pleasure writing and now I'm considering stepping into that situation again. Again, this is all shortsighted.

The book says to keep repeating to yourself, "Writers write no matter what." It also asks the reader to weigh and prioritize what already exists in your schedule and figure out what can be replaced with writing. Sure, I love reading and having dinner with friends, but I have a very strong suspicion that I crave my craft more than these recreational events. Reading, of course, won't be cut out entirely, as it is a tool that enriches writing (and I'm a librarian). Going to smokey bars to hear bands, blabbing on the phone for an hour and burning HOURS online are all things that have no particular importance in what I'm seeking in my life right now.

I am a person that needs solitude in both my personal and professional life. As a librarian, there is no solitude. Period. As a writer, there's lots. I'm by no means saying that I'm leaving the library world; the opposite is true. I'm looking forward to working in the information field for the rest of my life, but I intend to write to the end of my existence as well. I basically want my information topped cake and eat it, too. It's not impossible, but it takes change and it takes commitment.

For some help along the way (and motivation, tips, etc.) I've also been looking to some writing blogs. They, too, claim that this freelance business requires hustle, but they also claim that it is totally possible. Some of my favorites:

Got any others? I'm always on the hunt for sweet writing and library blogs, so keep 'em coming!

3 comments:

Melissa Donovan said...

A few years ago I was looking into various graduate programs to get a degree in information sciences (so I could become a librarian). I had this fantasy of the librarian as sort of a superhero. Anyway, it never came to pass and I ended up as a freelance writer instead (a completely different type of superhero).

Thanks so much for including Writing Forward in this post. Freelancing is a lot of hustle and bustle but it is almost always worth the sacrifice. Good luck to you!

Kevin Alan Wells said...

With over 100,000 unique hits a month, www.copyblogger.com is one of the best for bloggers.

How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead by Ariel Gore is a great take on publishing in general. A how-to book + a truly delightful read? Who can pass that up??

Also, the Writer's Market 2008 is the sort of resource that should be memorized by every beginning freelancer. They should pre-order the 2009 edition to get a head start on memorizing that one, too. After that they'll realize beyond a doubt that the only way they'll ever make it in this business is by f*ing hard work; instead of working eight hours a day, freelance writers don't work eight hours a day - when they're sleeping.

@Melissa: nice customization of Rev. Pro on your personal site. Great colors!

Amy Derby said...

Thanks for the links to write-from-home.com. I'm glad you think I'm funny. ;-) Some great resources here too, so I'm honored to be listed amongst them. Have a great weekend!