How Bad Do I Have To Be?
I recently read yet another "If you want it, you have to be willing to sacrifice" pep talks.
I get it. If you want to be in the Olympics, you have to spend the time on the ice. You have to forego a few things that your peers are enjoying--like a life. Your body is a temple, no late weekends, no goofing off on the couch with the six-hour Pride and Prejudice mini-series.
Note that I didn't reference Sons of Anti-Christ or whatever it is that my sister recently started watching. I don't watch a lot of TV. I'm a Mad-icct, because my sister the enabler got me hooked by sending me home with Season One of Madmen. "First one's free, Dan."
I regularly watch Dave and wish I could see more of Craig, but he's on too late--and here in rural BC he comes on at 9:30. I justify my little bit of TV viewing by doing pilates while I watch. See Dani multi-task. Dani long ago sacrificed enjoying pop culture in order to find time to write it.
However, after two decades of sacrifice, Dani is growing a little fed up with not showing enough want. Seriously, these 'are you willing to...' articles about make me want to ask the authors 'how bad do you want to be slapped?'
Let's talk about balance people. I have a friend who works for a treatment center and she recently told me about a 'Wellness Wheel' she shows her clients. The wedges are labeled Physical, Thinking, Emotional, Social and Occupational. They revolve around an inner circle labeled Spiritual. She does an exercise with them where they fill in all their wedges and see where they're off balance.
This is why blogging is good for me, by the way. It allows me to step out of Occupational for a while and socialize, work through my emotions and think about why I'm continuing to write beyond the want to publish.
As for addressing the physical, well, do you have any idea the toll it takes to sit at a computer for hours on end? If you don't make a point of exercising, you feel pain. Much pain. Therefore, even though I am very much enjoying the rewrites I started this weekend on my Medieval Fantasy, I am going to take a break soon and golf with my dad.
I just rechecked the email my girlfriend sent. She didn't mention a 'Family' wedge. Maybe she forgot or maybe I'm off the hook for all that guilt I feel over neglecting my kids in favor of 'wanting it bad.' I've tried, God knows I've tried to neglect them in favor of writing. Perfect example, this recent actual conversation in our home:
"This is good, Dad."
"I didn't make it. Mom did."
I was mad at the publishing industry for yet another form rejection, okay? So shut up.
See? I sacrifice. I do! So I really resent anyone coming along and telling me I'm not trying hard enough. Not putting in enough time. Not feng shui-ing my office right. Not using the correct corner of my brain. Not tweeting enough. Not wanting it bad enough.
Okay, you're right. I don't want to publish more than I want good health so I will turn off the computer and go outside on a sunny afternoon. I will plant a garden and tend it through the summer.
I will go on record as stating that it's been neck and neck for years between my marriage and publishing, but the husband is currently leading by a nose, mostly because he cooks for our children.
At one point early on in my attempt-at-a-writing-career I said I wouldn't have kids until I'd sold a book. My children are almost fifteen and twelve. I still haven't sold. I can honestly say I'm glad I didn't wait.
I don't mind giving up housework, a weekend of shopping in the Big Smoke, or the wine tasting gala at the art gallery. I will not give up sleep, walking after work, or ladies' night out. Because at a certain point you have to ask yourself--what is my life amounting to?
Yes I'd like to publish. Unpublished manuscripts are not much different from marathon T-shirts. They're a mark of accomplishment, something cool to show your friends and occasionally a great excuse to travel, but a gold medal is the real goal. They're more of a keepsake for the kids and the endorsement deals would go a long way toward that retirement nest egg we have yet to lay.
But what if I never win the marathon? I've already proven to myself I can live through failing at writing. If I got to the end of my life and discovered I'd failed at living, I'd die.
So how bad do I want it? Pretty bad. But I want a life a teensy bit more.