Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Have To vs. Want To

Hi! It's Jaleta Clegg, your alternating Tuesday guest poster.

I've been fighting a struggle I think most writers fight. The Have-To list vs. the Want-To list. I would love to get up every morning and only have to worry about two things - what to eat for breakfast and which story to write. But life isn't that simple. I have children to get out the door to school, I have meals to plan, bills to pay, a house to clean, and a day job to help pay said bills. Writing gets squeezed into the cracks in my schedule. The things that have to be done take precedence over the things I want to do. It's part of being an adult, taking care of the things you don't want to do that need done.

So what does this have to do with writing? Most authors make peanuts with their writing. The only way to really make a living at it is to either write whatever people want you to write whether you care about it or not or figure out how to write a breakout book like "Twilight." Real life interferes with writing all the time, because bills have to be paid and work has to be done. If you're passionate about writing, you will find a way to write in those corners of your life. As an art teacher said to our class once, "If you give up going to the bathroom, you could gain and hour or two a day for drawing!" Not a route I'd recommend, but writing is another matter. With advances in technology, you could take your laptop into the bathroom with you. Wait, probably not a great idea—water and electronics are not a good combination. But a creative author will find a way.

I spent the day yesterday cleaning and organizing parts of my house that have been neglected far too long. It's easier to shut the door and say, "I'll figure out how to stack all those storage items tomorrow." Tomorrow rarely comes. My house reached the point I couldn't ignore it any longer. But I also spent those hours working out stories in my head, preparing for those precious minutes that I can just write.

So thank goodness for chore charts for the kids, online bill pay, and crockpots for dinner. Otherwise, my house would be a complete disaster, the bills would never get paid, and my family would starve; because I'm a writer.