Between working on a writing project and trying to pay the bills, I’ve had to neglect my blog. But I haven’t given up on it, just like I haven’t given up writing. I’m trying to accrue more publishing credits before I promote a novel that’s received lots of positive feedback. Another novel is on Channillo. So, I’ve made some progress in a relatively short period of time, but the gap between where I stand and the mountaintop sometimes overwhelms “big picture” thinkers like me. Oh, there is also a nonfiction books that’s two-thirds completed. But all of us have only so much time, and I’m already in danger of digressing.
It’s an odd line writers, musicians and others straddle—one that could ostensibly rocket from a baseline of obscurity to a shining peak like a well-placed IPO (initial public offering) on a stock exchange. Even though I’m perhaps close to earning a living from writing, as some activities last fall suggested, I’m so far from paying my bills with it in the present moment.
It’s sometimes frustrating. Having more discretionary income would be nice, but I’ve had that in the past and it certainly had little to do with my happiness. As a grad student, I argued against the fundamental concept of money as a hygiene factor. In other words, I didn’t accept the fundamental truth that lack of money can create problems but an abundance cannot fulfill a person. After living in the “real world” for several years, I understood no amount of money could bring me happiness if my health, mind, and spirit were not in order.
At one point during my life I worked an unpleasant job that paid a high salary. I rarely thought about my salary or even the things it could buy. I often thought about my miserable working conditions. As my weekends dwindled away, I would dread returning.
I was lucky to have that job for only a relatively short time, even though it paid more than my teaching positions. I loved teaching. I love writing.
At the present, I’m too often focused on the distance between where I am currently as a writer trying to balance other obligations and where I want to be as writer with more time to write. I should be focused on the journey. The journey is something I love about going to the gym. I can feel and see the progress. The key as a writer is to insist on doing the thing exceptionally well regardless of who is or isn’t watching and despite the limited time a person may have. As writers we can indeed recognize a thing exceptionally well written even though subjectivity is involved in choosing the best writing. Great writing is often it’s own reward, yet finding a productive perspective can nonetheless be difficult when bills need to be paid and inevitable rejections arrive.
Finding a balance can be arduous. Maintaining it can be tenuous for a compulsive person who wants to do a thing exceptionally well or not at all. Some news I received today reminded me that sometimes slowing our pursuit out of necessity does not require use to inherently lower our standards.
Short Fiction Break informed me today that although they have been “slammed with submissions,” they’ve decided to published my “very well written” short story “Reconciliation” on June 9. SFB “is an innovative online literary journal founded in May of 2014 by people who love reading and writing fiction.”
Acceptance by a publication like this one is a great honor and another much-needed publishing credit. SFB features work by regular contributors, flash fiction challenges, and advice columns. In addition to following them on FB and Twitter, you can browse their stories by category at shortfictionbreak.com.
In the end, I have to remember why I write and allow no external influence to compromise it. Doing it well is its own reward that perhaps will lead to others. Nonetheless, this validation makes my reason easier to justify.
(Image from pixabay.com)