As I’ve mentioned here before, for the past few weeks (and continuing for one more week!) I am spending almost all of my free time on costumes. And not in the way I mean it when I say “I spend most of my free time writing,” because in comparison to the first statement, the second is simply untrue.
When I am going about the course of my normal life, I spend SOME of my free time writing. I spend a great deal more of it avoiding writing, or considering writing and rejecting the idea because I am tired, or the words aren’t anywhere in my head, or the thought of sitting down to write creates anxiety and I don’t want to make writing an act or place of anxiety for myself. I guess this current obsession is making me face the fact that in many ways I do still write only “when I feel like it.” Sure, I get up early a lot of mornings to write before work, but you know what? That is the only point in a normal workweek when I do feel like writing, barring some flash of inspiration or a day when I am obsessing over the words and the story such that I can barely focus on my work and just sit at my desk with my skin crawling like I took some party drug and my brain short-circuiting every 20 seconds like Tweek on South Park. I do not, in general, manage to make myself work on a story when I don’t want to.
I am also realizing that…I am fine with this state of affairs. Yes, having a day job I only like and don’t love sucks, and my life goal is to build enough income from writing to quit. The quickest way to do that is to publish a lot of books, so if I really want to quit my job, I should be spending every second I am not working or sleeping on my writing.
But…that is not who I am. I am too Aristotelian in my life philosophy: everything in moderation. Basically working 13 hours a day, every day, is not moderation. It would ruin my friendships. It would ruin my marriage. My husband, bless his heart, has been so patient the last few weeks, not complaining about the state of the house (covered in my projects and clutter) or my relative inattention to him when he is home in between jobs (his off days I do make a point to give him my full attention). And my friends have been great at either dragging me from the house for a break or sitting at my place, watching movies (and sometimes cooking for me!) while I keep sewing. All of that is fine for a month, for a finite and specific goal. It is NOT fine for a lifestyle. I would drive myself mad. I would drive my health into the ground. I would destroy some of the things I value most in my life–my relationships, which, as an introvert, I do not build easily, value highly, and never want to lose (because then I would have to find new friends and…*shudders*).
So while I might ask my friends and family to help me accomplish NaNoWriMo for once, and pursue writing with the level of obsession normally reserved for cosplay for a month, a finite and specific time period, I could not pursue writing on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis with this kind of energy. All I can do is keep chipping away at stories in the mornings and on weekends when I have nothing better to do. It might take me the long way to get there – and I might never reach my goal of not working; novel-writing might remain something I love too much to give up, but which I pursue on the side of my real life – but the flip side is, I have a fuller, richer life that satisfies more of my needs than the Slytherin hiss of ambition and accomplishment that burns in one corner of my heart. The other three corners together outweigh the one, and I am happier for it.