There is no denying the fact that I wouldn’t be able to afford my next meal, let alone electricity, water, or gas, if I had to rely on my writing income to pay the bills. In the name of full disclosure, I have made zip off of my writing. I have worked more hours writing than I have doing any other single activity, so I must really like doing it to stick at it. Like everyone except the rare and fortunate few, I have a day job. A bit more flexible than that, but more or less accurate. Truth be told, I’m a horrible employee. I’m generally surly, uncooperative, and do not work well with others. This is why I spend the majority of my time stalking the halls of academia. That bastion of over achievers whom are action-packed with social dysfunctions. Only in academia, would the majority of people that I interact with on a daily basis be allowed to continue just as they are, without some sort of intervention. Snarling, growling, and talking to oneself… not even a little weird in my world.
The upside to never really venturing beyond the walls of a university for any extended period of time, is that my summers are mine. I also have a decent winter and spring break. My habit has become to spend two months every summer in France and Portugal. I normally arrive on my vacation with nothing to do but catch up on my reading, fill in a Sudoku book or two, and try not to burn too badly (that Scandinavian skin of mine just will not let me ever get a decent tan!). This year, I arrived at my destination with work. Editing to be exact. Now that I’m signed with a publisher, I have deadlines. I don’t know if I could have finished what I needed to do before I left home, but I do know I arrived with a bucket to do. Granted, I probably did bite off more than I could chew (was warned in advance by editor – that’s another post – why listen to my editor) and probably should have scaled back my ambitions, but I was already too far in to what I wanted to change to go back.
So I spent three weeks of what was supposed to be my downtime, working. Staring longingly out the window at the shade under the arbor made my grape vines just outside my window. My lounge chair, blue clicky pen (I like to click my pen when I’m thinking), and crossword book beckoning. What do I take away from this time I spent working rather than resting? I must really want to be a writer. If I didn’t want to be a writer, I would have quit right then and there. I would have been able to just shove the work to the side and get on with relaxing. I have an income. I don’t really need to write for the money (as there is no money to date from my writing, I can certainly say I don’t do it for the money). I must want this. Otherwise, I would walk away from the work. With each step I take in the process, I learn something. This summer I’ve learned two things. I want to write. I will get the work done before I take my vacation.