Taking Off the Writer Hat
I’d like to apologize in advance, in retrospect. Looking back, a lot of my posts have been far more in the way of “life of the writer,” than they have been about writing as a craft. Becoming a father has dramatically narrowed my existence, and I’m still coming to terms with the machine-gun changes (don’t tell me that lasts for decades. I really don’t need to hear that.) If this is a problem, please, let me know in the comments.
I’m not quitting writing (I can quit anytime I want *sob*), though you’ll be forgiven if you don’t really notice the difference. Times come when you have to switch jobs, at least temporarily. For those of us in the real world, this is a daily event. For example, I’m a short order cook at least a couple of times a day. Then I’m a nanny. Then back to cook. Barista. Write- nope: back to nanny, as that stench is more potent than simple boy-farts. Housekeeper. Etc. For anybody who has had the unutterable pleasure (un-utterable, I say!) of parenting a toddler, this should come as no surprise.
Wee Dave’s doing well. He calls everything “dada,” so I can’t tell if he’s talking to me, or making surprisingly astute comments about early 20th C. avant-garde art. He’s showing a tendency to test the structural integrity of thing with his head, which is a bit distressing, to judge from his subsequent behavior. But, c’mon, kid, the thing’s proportionally huge (not to mention just large) so the odds are good you’ll whang it into something during the day. He’s walking almost everywhere, and seems to be losing his suspicion of nature.
Mrs. Dave is likewise doing well, as is Working Title #2, to the best of our knowledge. The tiny creature seems just as active as Older Sibling was at that stage of development. Dave, on the other hand, is quietly dreading WT2’s appearance in a few months. Dave, you see – the writerly Dave, rather than the wee one – already doesn’t really get much done on the creative front. I can’t imagine what’s going to happen when there are two of them. Hopefully, I’ll spend less time mucking about on the Internet. That can’t be healthy.
Of course, it may not matter. This whole writer thing doesn’t seem to be panning out for me. I mean, sure, I’ve gotten some good reviews of the few things out there. I’ve got reams and reams of- wait, that doesn’t work in this new, digital age. I’ll come in again, shall I? I’ve got files and files of words in all manner of worlds. I’ve got people who actually want me to write.
It’d sure be nice if some of that happened, y’know?
I’ve been re-reading Larry’s Ask Correia essays (link to the first one), in which he imparts, with blunt force trauma, his understanding of what it is to be a writer. I enjoy Larry’s take-no-prisoners style of explication. I’ve love to see him revamp or expand the list (in his so-copious free time) but I’m not holding my breath. He’s got more important things to do. Like write.
In Number 14, the Big C lays out what it takes to be a professional author: work. And lots of it. Dedicated effort in the pursuit of goals. He also takes time to blast the notion of writer’s block, which I’m a little ambivalent about. I haven’t written much fiction recently. As Mrs. Dave pointed out to me (not so gently) “writer” is a secondary occupation right now. About to get more secondary (see above). “Daddy” is much higher on the list of priorities, most of the time. (Again, see above.)
Enough so that writing falls a bit by the wayside, as well as things like keeping the house neat. Which brings me – finally – to the point of the post. Life is complex, and often complicated. Adulting is hard. There are bills to pay, work to be done so one can get paid sufficiently to pay said bills (and keep one in internets, scotch, and ammo). Domiciles need to be kept to a minimum of filth. The usual.
As we do all the things to keep body and (probably) soul together, the grind eats away at the energy we can direct toward other, more fulfilling purposes. This is just basic stuff: spend all day cleaning, and you don’t feel much like writing. At least, I don’t. And then there are the habits. The patterns we get into as humans that simply become background for the day-to-day. Our house was … cluttered. Not filthy, and by no means unlivable. But … there was far too much stuff, just kind of out. Stacks of books, papers, himself’s toys. The detritus of life. And then Mom and Pop Dave (we’re a Dave kind of family) visited and we ransacked the place, and now things are open, and clean (and more importantly, cleanable), and the reduces visual noise is an enormous reduction in my day-to-day stress. One that I hadn’t realized was actually there.
In a similar manner, this weekend we’ll be tackling the office, which became a transshipment depot in the Cleanening, and requires … attention. It’s entirely possible that’ll bust open the floodgates, and I’ll be cranking out wordcount in short order. I don’t really believe it, but it could happen (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease).
We as writers often spend so much time inside our own skulls that our behavioral patterns don’t get examined in depth. Take off the writer hat once in a while, and go through your life to see if something can be changed to increase your creative drive. The goal, here, is to get paid for your work. If you aren’t producing sufficient to meet your needs, something needs to change.