Steve and I like to do writing prompts together. These 10-minute sessions often stimulate our creativity, get us “unblocked,” or teach us something we didn’t know, either about each other or ourselves.
Today, I was flipping through a book titled 365 Questions for Couples, looking for a good prompt for both of us to write about.
Here’s the question I landed on:
I’m embarrassed to admit my response:
I’m not working right now, so I don’t have a career. Ask me another question.
Whoa! That was my next thought, and I’m sure it was prompted by the inquiring look on Steve’s face. My inner voice immediately began to scold me:
You mean to say, you’ve published 2.75 books (that means two books published with one just about ready to release,) and you don’t consider your writing a career? No wonder you’re not any farther along than you are on that sequel!
As noted in my title, this was a “should-have-known-better” epiphany. How many conferences and workshops have I been to that have taught me how to practice writing as a career? How many blogs have I read that preach we must take ourselves seriously and as professionals? How many writing mentors and friends have set that very example for me?
And all along, I’ve thought, “I know, I know. I think of myself as a professional. This is my career.”
But actions speak louder than words, and in the last year, but actions have screamed that I am not looking at my writing as my career.
While working on The Red Kimono, I was focused, dedicated and determined. I looked at it as a job, and had a certain time of every day set aside so that all I did was write. (That was typically, 5:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m., before the rest of the world–with the exception of my dogs–awoke. Or, at least started bothering me.)
But in the year following my book’s release, I spent almost all of my time marketing, and since then, I haven’t gotten back into a routine. Oh, I could use all of the following excuses to placate myself:
- my move into an apartment following my divorce
- marketing The Red Kimono
- fulfilling my duties as Conference Chair for OWFI and President for OWL
- my move to Dallas following the news I’d be a grandmother
- blah, blah, blah
But you know what? Most of those things are over. And have I gotten back to the career of my passion? (That would be writing.) No.
And until this morning, I didn’t realize that I’d quit looking at writing as my career. Why? I’m not sure. But following are the questions and commentary that swirled around in my brain following my epiphany:
You must be afraid of something. What are you afraid of? Failure? Failure of what? That you won’t ever get the sequel finished? That you won’t find a publisher? That people won’t be interested?
Who knows why for sure. All I know is, I do want to get the sequel to The Red Kimono finished, and I do want to get the other books and stories queued up in my head written.
So, after today’s “should-have-known-better” epiphany, I’m back to work. Back to my career. Back to dedicating two hours a day to my JOB.
See, like I said earlier. Sometimes these writing prompts are good for learning something about ourselves.