I love to write. Writing is how I process life and explore possibilities. It is a way to ask questions, and a way to figure out answers to questions. It is a way to connect with people from all over the world, people whom I would otherwise never meet.
Writing is play. It is also work.
About a year ago, I made a commitment to spend more time writing – to be a more disciplined writer, to write more frequently and more consistently. As a result, this has been a very productive year for me as a writer.
I am a writer. I am also a homeschool mom. Way back 20-something years ago when I decided to teach the first of my seven children at home, a friend advised: “You have to think of this as a job.”
I couldn’t not do school simply because I was having a bad day or not in the mood to do school. I couldn’t not do school because my girlfriend wanted to go shopping or because I preferred to park my fanny on the couch and bury my nose in a book. As a homeschool mom, school was my job: I had to show up for work every day, and I had to learn to say “no” to things that kept me from doing my job.
Writing is also a job. But because it is so much fun and feels like play, I sometimes have difficulty justifying a work mentality when it comes to writing. I am having to learn to say “no” all over again, this time to things that pull me away from a consistent schedule of writing. And saying “no” is not easy!
Family members, friends, people in my community…so many folks have ideas about how I should use my time. “Can you help with —?” “I think you should serve on the committee for —-.” “I told Don you would be a good candidate for the position he is trying to fill.”
When I decline their invitations and offers and I explain that I already have a job, people act confused. They seem to think that being a writer is a job that takes no time at all, that I should be able to work full-time at fill-in-the-blank and then just write in the time that’s left over at the end of each day.
That, however, would make writing into a hobby. I don’t want another hobby.
No, thank you. I prefer to stick with my current job.