As I said I was going to do, I quit school, cut back on volunteer obligations and have shifted all my focus on being a writer. As some of you may recall, I made those decisions based on feedback from both my pdoc and my therapist. I was struggling in school and due to some panic attacks the possibility of passing my classes this past semester were looking grim. Interestingly, both of them gave me the same advice within days of each other. Paraphrasing my therapist, “You’ve been saying you want to be a chaplain and have seemed excited about it, however, you are never more animated than when you talk about your blog. And today, as you talk about selling your short story, and writing more, you’re practically jumping out of your seat. Why don’t you do it? Make writing your job, structure it each day and do it.” I agreed it was a great idea.
The start was difficult due to rigid, virtually unattainable goals I set, but I’ve changed that. Instead of a narrow focus on time to do activities I’ve now set goals based on productivity. Naturally, the most important goal is my writing which I’ve set at one thousand words a day. That’s equal to a long blog post so it sounds easy, but of course, writing for my blog and creative writing are two different animals. I’m aware it will be extremely difficult some days. Overall, however, it’s a nice, safe, attainable goal even if I write gibberish. Even the worst gibberish can be edited the next day, or completely edited out. Though, I had originally planned to focus on short stories, I’ll be focusing on my novel instead. The novel has taken control of my mind. The scenes are writing themselves and as I’ve worked on my cast of characters and gotten to know them, I’ve fallen in love with every one of them.
The changes to my short story, which my editor asked for, are done and I’m working on another one due in February. I am currently working on the novel as well, but after that short story is done, the novel will get full attention.
Am I a writer? You bet your ass I am. How do I know? Because I’ve gone on Facebook and LinkedIn and changed my occupation to Writer. That’s it. It’s that easy. I just had to make the decision and now I have to stick with it, which is not one of my stronger suits Being a writer is easy, but I’m well aware that being a writer and actually writing are two entirely different things. The physical act of writing is the hard part which is why I’ve set realistic goals.
One astonishing thing came to light. This is not the first time I’ve focused on being a writer. Recently, a friend loaned me a copy of The Writers Market, which is a thick book listing publications, agents and publishers and it dawned on me that I had owned copies of the book thirty years ago. In addition, I now recall I also had a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine. How in the hell could I not remember? Where did I lose track? This realization has fully convinced me that I’m on the right path and it feels wonderful.