I have been thinking a lot lately – the last few months, since the drastic change in life-course appeared on the horizon – about what I want to do when I have absolute freedom to build my own life. What do I want it to look like; what do I want it to be.
Perhaps the most important part is that I do not want to remain a 9-5 slave in the employment of someone else. I can work very hard and very dedicatedly, but the only times I am happy giving that much of myself is when the work is for myself. I dislike giving the best of me to someone else for a paycheck when I know they are not really utilizing my talents to the fullest. I would rather work for myself, because I as an employer of my self would understand how to best use my own talents. So foremost on my mind has been considering how to pimp out my various talents and expertises for a cash flow.
Funny thing: fiction writing doesn’t even make the list.
I have 4-5 different ideas and schemes in mind (and intention to implement all of them – the whole many small streams make a sustainable river income idea), some of which do involve writing – but not fiction.
Part of the reason for this, I think, is that fiction writing is slow (for me, anyway) and the return is not guaranteed – nor is it guaranteed to come right away. But a lot of it is inclination. The things that energize me, that make me excited to do with other people, that make me feel my entrepreneurial and innovative oats to sow, are not fiction writing. Fiction writing is personal. It is for myself, and if others enjoy it and give me a little money for it, great – but I cannot write for the money, and I don’t want to make myself hate writing because it’s not paying the bills. I realized, texting with a friend last night, that probably part of the reason writing has been so un-joyful for me in the last couple years, is that I had focused on it as a means of ending my day-job, and I was upset at myself for not being able to produce fast enough to keep up with the plan, and upset at the uncontrollable nature of selling. I was forcing myself to write because that was the plan, and it wasn’t enjoyable or inspiring. Sometimes you can only realize your dreams when you let an old dream go.
I am letting go of the idea of making my income writing fiction. I have a lot of other talents and skills that can be exploited without the use of an external employer to keep a roof over my head and food in my son’s mouth. That is my real dream. If I let go of novel-writing as the means of attaining that dream, I can make it a measurable and quantifiable goal with a probability of success by using those other talents and skills as the basis. And I can keep writing as a hobby, an artistic expression that I do for myself because I can’t not do it – and I can still publish the things I finish, when they are ready, and let my work find its audience. Maybe someday I will have enough work and enough audience to re-think the “day job” side of my work life. And maybe I won’t. But this way I don’t have to feel bad if I don’t, and I don’t have to despair that I will never get out of desk-job hell because my writing isn’t doing what it “should” be. I can have my dream – and my writing.
Sometimes wildfires are necessary to clear out debris and detritus.
We don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn – burn, motherfucker, burn.