I believed, with my whole self, for years and years, that what I wanted most in this world was to be a “Full-Time Writer.”
Back in the early 2000’s, right when we were all consuming blogs but before the smartphone made its life-disrupting debut, this was when the idea was planted firmly in my head. I was a mother of two young children, finishing up grad school, and embarking on a career that would lead me to educate myself on topics like: stress, cortisol, anxiety, sleep deprivation, self-medication, etc, etc.
So when I read blog posts from authors I admired about their lives as “Full-Time Writers” well, you can imagine how primed I was, absolutely desperate, to shift my life from the way I was living to my very own writing castle in the sky.
Waking up when you wanted–sign me up.
Working in your pajamas–yes please.
Peace and quiet, silence, solitude, a minute to THINK–Jesus, make it so.
These were the desires foremost in my thinking.
Next up we had things like: holding my own book in my hands, seeing my book on shelves, book signings, speaking engagements, giving interviews, and teaching at conferences–the exterior parts of the writing career that I assumed I would love. (But we should discuss how I actually feel about all this in another post!)
Writing looked to me like the PERFECT escape from life as I then knew it. Still working. Still productive. Still creative.
But all of it on my terms.
So my ideal writer’s life went up on my vision board and there it stayed, off on the horizon of my striving.
And, as often happens when you work consistently toward a goal, many of those things I had imagined came true! And in some instances, my lived life as a writer even exceeded what my vision had originally been. I did it!
Because even though many of the trappings of living the writer life had come into my world, I still did not call myself a “Full-Time Writer.”
Except for that ONE year. The year that taught me I might not be meant to be a “Full-Time Writer.”
My husband and I sat down and discussed the possibility of me taking the year off from my other career and really giving the writing my all. Every day. Writing. Everything I had always dreamed of. We agreed–we could do this. So for the 2016-2017 school year, I didn’t take on any school psychologist positions and I set my sights on making the shift.
Can you guess what happened?
- I barely got any writing done that year.
- I could not, COULD NOT keep myself from taking on more. I did NOT NEED TO but I still ended up doing some part-time assessment work for another psychologist.
- I discovered that all that time to write left me feeling bored and uninspired. Additionally–who knew that, when given the time, I was such a PROCRASTINATOR?
Yes, I learned an ugly truth about myself. When given the freedom, I squandered it.
Now maybe if I kept at it longer, and tried harder to adjust, I’d eventually figure out a routine that led to me getting words on paper. But by the time the next summer rolled around, I was soooo ready to get back out into the hustle and bustle of the working world, I gladly signed that contract to go back to work for the next school year.
Now, obviously, that’s not the whole story. Those who know me best know for a fact that I’ve had to continue to search for the perfect combination between my writing career and other careers. Oddly enough, right now, I’m working as a flight attendant, doing very part-time school psychology work, and weirdly writing more words per week consistently than I have in years! I’m busier than EVER, but feeling more balanced in all areas of my life.
Know thyself. And apparently, this self needs some limits on the limitless.