Most of us, I assume, want a career in writing. We want to be multi-published, and probably, want to publish regularly. Like any career, in order to be successful at it, we have to work at it.
For writing, we know we have to do it, ideally, every day. We’ve heard this advice over and over from writers we admire.
You have to write every day, if you want to be successful.
A few years ago, I read an article about an author. I don’t remember who it was nor why the article was written about her, but what I do remember was that she said that in the two years prior to her publishing she’d written every day, even on the day her husband died and the day he was buried.
This was evidence of her commitment to her career and was something she was proud of.
Last week, I had my thyroid removed and was in the hospital overnight. When I came home from the hospital, I went to bed and couldn’t stop sleeping. For the next few days I spent my time pretty much being a lump, watching mindless TV or catching up on my reading. I went out a couple of times to see how strong I was and generally, took a nap afterward.
I freely admit that in the week since the surgery, I haven’t worked on my book at all. I have done some writing related work – judging contest entries and updating my blog – but nothing that gets me any closer to finishing my book.
Does this make me a failure or any less committed to my writing than some other author?
I don’t think so.
Those of us in Louisiana just dealt with Hurricane Gustav, the worst storm ever to hit Baton Rouge. I wonder how many of us worried about our books when we were worrying about our homes, our families, and possibly our very lives.
I definitely would tell a new author that writing every day was important. In fact, I truly believe that if you don’t do that, you will have a harder time finishing your book.
However, I do believe that there are things that need to take a higher priority than writing.
I know, for myself, I need to look at my definition of “success.”
At this point in my life, I am still raising children. Well, at least one child. My daughter in college doesn’t need as much mothering as my son in kindergarten who is also in the process of being evaluated for ADHD. I am also still recovering from my surgery and desperately hoping to get past the hoarse voice and neck soreness.
I have to put my family and my health above my writing for the time being.
There might come a point in your life when you have to make these decisions, too.
Will you be able to write the day you bury your husband? If you can, is it something you should be proud of?
This is a question we each have to consider for ourselves. I think I know my answer, and I have to be okay with it.
Are you okay with yours?