I write all day long. Rarely do I write my own fictions all day long, however. Those I save for sundown, or for when I’m supposed to be rockin the Zs. Responsible civic living has done its number on my head. No doubt.
I’m thinking about this a lot lately.
I was thinking about this back in December, when I asked Laura van den Berg (at ASF’s blog), What has been the hardest lesson–or the best–for you to learn in your writing life?
She hit it so quick it almost didn’t hurt: “Self-doubt.”
“I’m always trying to learn how to keep the self-doubt under control,” she said. “I tend to imagine the worst case scenario. After finishing a new story or a book, I immediately think: what if this is the last thing I ever write? What if this is it? These questions are not especially useful, so I would love to learn how to squash them for good (please feel free to send me your tips!), but I have a feeling it’s going to be an ongoing lesson.”
Then, as if ideas are dice, she rolled again: “One lesson that I did actually learn that has been really important for me,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to organize your life around your work. Sometimes I feel a little petrified that I’ve put all my eggs so completely in one basket, but we’ve all got to do what we love.”
So there it is. Let the dice rip: Give up the day job. Hunt for retreats, fellowships, residencies. House sit. Burn through savings. Let each year, as Laura says, “be something of a gamble.”
No matter what, bills need payin’. And here I am, standing at the table.