May 31, 2019

Rant: Yes, I don't have a "real job". So what?

Art: Robin Eisenberg
I have never understood the concept of writing in public at a coffee shop. I'm not judging. I tried it for a bit 20 years ago but it never worked well for me. Perhaps some peeps' brains work better in those conditions. But for me, I need absolute solitude. I also need to know that I have no plans for the rest of the day and into the night in case I get on a roll and want to keep going. Moreover I have a whole ritual I need to do before I even begin putting one word down that involves incense, meditation, music and other things to pull me out of myself and into the right headspace.

So many people in my life have seemed to think they can hang out with me and chat while I write or that I can just pop up and swing by in the middle of the day because I don't have a "real job" and I find that endlessly infuriating.

I've lost a handful of friends over the years who can't comprehend that I can't drop everything any day of the week to talk on the phone or whatever simply because I'm home and not in some office cubicle.

Art: Robin Eisenberg
I may not make a lot of money writing (which I don't even have a problem with because I'm so much happier than when I did make money on other people's sets or doing graphic design) and I may not drive to a soul-sucking job everyday but that doesn't mean I don't work. I work my ass off. (I joke that I'm lazy but that's really a cover. I'm a workaholic perfectionist who has to force myself to stop so I don't get bleeding ulcers like I did in college.)

Heck, I overdid it so much on my last edit working 8 hours a day everyday Monday through Friday that I had little time to balance rest, fun, and chores, often sacrificing some or all. By the end of it I completely burned myself out and needed isolated self-care for a solid week.

I love writing. (I don't love editing but that's another story.) I don't even really care if no one reads my words - though it would, of course, be nice if they do - but ultimately I love the process of putting pen to paper and conjuring tales. And I live for those moments when my ego melts away and the story starts writing itself, my hand barely able to keep up with the flow of words tumbling from my brain.

Those moments are pure joy.

They are my life's breath.

So, yes, I don't have a "real job" but that doesn't mean I'm doing nothing or that I can be at anyone's beck and call any time they want. And I will banish those who attempt to force their will upon me and try to pull me away from the one thing that keeps the demons at bay.

Writing is life.

Everything else is a hobby.

Even my small business.

Unless it keeps growing... But writing will always be my first love (and, incidentally, being alone will always trump the alternative - until I reach that critical mass and my social side rears its animalistic head seeking like-minded souls to conjure with).

Art: Robin Eisenberg
This all came to a head because I told someone recently that Mondays weren't good for me and their reply was basically: "But you don't work so you're always free." 

That one sentence burrowed under my skin and pissed me off. I am not always free. Monday is my day of solitude to contemplate my week and prepare. I need that time to set my goals, tidy the house, and recharge from the weekend. Moreover, even if I wasn't busy with those things or writing or working on American Witch, even if I just wanted a day to myself, how dare anyone presume that because I don't have a day job that I'm just completely available to them any time at the drop of a hat? And I really shouldn't have to justify how I spend my time to anyone. It's my life. I can do whatever I want with it and owe no one any explanations. However, I just wanted to lay it all on the line. I'm not sitting on the couch all day eating Cheetos and watching Netflix. I'm building something. Call it a career, call it a brand, call it whatever you want, but it takes time, and patience, a lot of hard work, and the right atmosphere to create.

Art: Robin Eisenberg
It's not even about that one person, they merely broke the camel's back. There have been many over the years... Like one who would drop by and, when I would say that I was writing, they'd reply, "Oh, that's fine, you can keep writing while I talk to you." LOLWUT? That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works.

So forgive me if I'm not always available or can't reply immediately. Such is the life of the creative. It's not personal. I still love you. I just need some space. (And you really don't want to be on the receiving end of me having a tantrum because I'm interrupted during a flow moment. It's not pretty.)

Thanks for reading my rant. I just needed to vent. I'll post a nice poem next time.


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