Tonight I am trying to get caught up on ALL THE THINGS EVER. Which means, on my list of 20, I’ll get maybe two or three of them done. My cats are fed (a task which was delegated to the Teenager), and the family is fed (all me this time). So far, success. Then, after seeing Mr. V (my darling fiancee) off to rendezvous with a friend of his, I read a new submission for Drunken Muse Press, the brand spankin’ new literary journal started by my dear friend, Terri Wallace and yours truly. The submissions are trickling in, but isn’t that the way with all things new and as yet undiscovered by the world at large?
It’s all right. Gives us a chance to pay particular attention to our first batch of new blood, and to sharpen our discernment skills as we determine just what our Drunken Muse really likes; what she wants to publish. Good writing, obviously. Good stories. Or poems. Or even essays. As long as they move, as long as they make us think and hit us somewhere vital–brain, heart, gut, soul. You know the stuff. The good stuff. (Incidentally, now is the perfect time for you, my friends and dear followers, to jump on this bandwagon and submit something for the old soused muse to peruse. You don’t have a ton of competition and we are eager to get this fledgling lit-mag flying. Doesn’t pay just yet, but it is writing cred, and it’s fun. You have nothing to lose. Nothing. Just do it.)
As for some of my other “to-dos,” I also write a little non-fiction for money. Not a lot of money, mind you. Just, you know, lunch money. I’ve got a few articles sitting on my plate, staring dolefully at me, wondering when I’m going to get back to them. I gotta’ say, it’s starting to get a bit soul-sucking.
The company I typically write for is what’s known in the biz as a content mill. You know, websites such as about.com and the like, where writers churn out short, not exactly scholarly articles on popular topics to appease the masses. I’m almost dreading them lately. I try to pick topics I’m interested in–natural living, collecting, gardening, food–but still, there are only so many times I can write about organic gardening (in a short, concise, anyone-can-understand-it format) before I want to scream. And these things don’t pay enough to spend much time on research, so I have to stay within my, ahem, expertise. Or at least something I can figure out within about fifteen minutes. On one hand, I’m glad such sites exist, as they offer a quick and easy opportunity for a lot of starving writers to churn out a few articles a month, and maybe eat a sandwich or two. On the other hand, the time and focus it takes away from my fiction is a bit painful at times. If I were a full time writer (takes another hit off that beautiful dream pipe), this would be no big deal. But between working a full time job, tending a family, nurturing a relationship, and taking care of all those incidental Life things, the writing time gets crammed into tiny little spaces here and there, most days squeezed out by survival and mental health time (aka, unwinding from work and trying to find where I left my brain).
All of this is to say that, if by some miracle and dogged midnight-oil-burning perseverance, I happen to ever “make it” in the writing world (and by make it, I mean I can replace my regular lower-middle-class-income-earning day job with writing full time; I am not even talking best sellers and mansions), I will officially be able to say, without a shadow of a doubt, that you can, too. When that time comes (because I believe in positive thinking), I will be shouting this off the rooftops. Until then, I will keep shouting this at myself: Do not give up, do not give in. This is your love, this is all you want to do. Make. It. Happen.
Thanks for hanging with me for the pep talk. I needed that. 😉