I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want my life as a writer to look. I’ve been thinking about how much writing I should be doing, what kind of writing I should be doing, when I should be writing, where I should be writing, who I should be writing for, what kind of income (if any) I want to earn from my writing.
Part of me feels incapable of committing myself to any kind of career, part of me is afraid writing will become less fun, and part of me doubts my writing would be profitable in any significant way. I deal with a lot of self-doubt at times, and not just about my writing… I have to change the narrative. Because, honestly, if I never write anything else on “paper,” I am writing my life. Every day, I am writing my story.
It’s been pretty boring lately… a lot of she wakes up, gets dressed, sits at her desk, works for 8 hours, makes dinner, watches some TV, journals, and goes to bed. Every day, the same story. Some days there’s a little more adventure… she goes to the furniture store to find a chair for her new home office space, she meets a really cute salesman, she spends more on a chair than she wanted but decides it was worth it, she goes home and can’t get the salesman out of her head. What does she do next? She wakes up, gets dressed, sits at her desk, works for 8 hours, makes dinner, watches some TV, journals, and goes to bed.
Recognizing that I can change the story is powerful. However, I’m not particularly good with change. The redundancy of life gets comfortable after a while, even when it’s not exactly welcome. I can get reckless with characters in a story because I know I can change the narrative at any moment and make everything comfortable again. Being reckless in my own life isn’t so simple. But here’s the thing… what I’m referring to as “reckless” is really just taking a chance. What if I started viewing myself as a character in one of my stories? What if, as the writer of said story, I made my character (me) take more chances? What if I stopped being so afraid of getting my feelings hurt?
Of course, as in any story, there is a higher power controlling the events that take place, but it is possible for me to take more control of the narrative. It’s possible for me to shape myself as a character, push myself toward action rather than complacency. What kind of life do I want to write? I guess I should start by writing myself as a writer… as an active writer… as a self-publishing writer. The story doesn’t move forward if I don’t move it forward.
I’m sure there are some flaws in this idea of treating myself like a character in one of my stories, but I haven’t pinpointed them yet. I’m intrigued by the idea, though. In general, I create situations for characters in my stories to do things I typically wouldn’t do myself. Their hurt isn’t as tangible as my own, so I take bigger risks with them. I’m interested, now, in discovering what’s possible for me if I stepped outside of myself a bit and started writing my life differently.
We’ll take some small steps toward that. First, though, I have got to get out of my own way in finishing this book. Keep it simple. That’s what I keep telling myself. Yet, every time I get to the next step I make it more complicated than it probably needs to be.
What kind of writer do I want to be? The kind who isn’t afraid to write. The kind who doesn’t get stuck in her own head. The kind who rips herself open so that other people can feel her words in the pit of their stomach. I want to be the kind of writer who gets a little messy… but for the greater good. You know?