Passion, Payment and Profit

I am psycho busy with work and clients.

This is a good thing, mind you.  It means money, the projects I have are interesting and they’re practice in things that make more money than SEO, but I’ve felt intimidated in trying to do.  I’ve made a note that I need to write up an “intake” type questionaire for press releases and money raising pitches.  This client seems to be tolerant, but I think I’d do better, and get work done faster if I have a standard questionaire for this sort of thing.  I think it’d make the client more comfortable to have more structure when it comes to giving direction as well.

Even with being so busy, I’m making a commitment that if I do no other housework at all, I will tidy up the clutter that accumulates through the day for a few minutes each evening.  It’ll keep me from feeling out of control from visual clutter.  Now, I have been able to keep up on routines, but to be frank, unless clutter and mess starts interfering with my thinking and mood, work is far more important.

I was talking to The Bird the other day while in Borders.  (If I have a lot of work to do, I often take the kids to Borders so that we can sit down and have a snack, then I can work and they can read and hang out in a place they like).  She asked me how I felt about writing in a bookstore and being a writer.  I told her that while I really do love to read, and I enjoy books, it’s very hard not to point to the shelves and go, “Yep, that’s product. Product over there…”

I’ve stopped seeing the printed word as something elevated or holy.  I know what this really means is that I’ve become a hack.

Know what?  In a lot of ways I’m proud of that.  Hack writers do make a living doing it and that’s a cool thing.  (As long as you’re making that living.  When you’re not, it can be stressy as hell!)   Even after three years of taking the leap, I get up in the morning and bid on projects or answer client email or sit down to work, but I bounce up and down in the chair a little thinking “This is really cool.”  I saw someone from my old job and when she asked how I was doing since I left, I could say in all honesty, “I’m doing really well.  I love what I do.”

So, while I don’t see books as quite as holy, I find the process and day to day job of being a “real” writer1 even more amazing than ever.  There’s a sense of wonder about it for me.  I really do this.  I write, I get money, I buy groceries with that money.   But in spite of the mundaneness of what I do, it feels like the end of Beauty and the Beast or something, with the majestic music playing and the thorns turning to roses and the light flooding the entire castle.  I have to remind myself that it’s real.

The funny part is that it wasn’t luck or someone waving a magic wand or anything like that.  I just decided one day, “I will do this” and then did.  I got scared and felt insecure, bit my nails wondering if I’m good enough, all of that.  Hell, I still do.  But it’s one hell of an adventure.

That adventure isn’t specific to being a writer, though.  I mean, that’s what resonnates with me, but people’s tastes are different.  I think the adventure part comes in when you love to do something so much that you just dive into it with no idea in the world whether or not you’ll succeed or fail, but with the total abandon.  Sometimes you fail at this.  I’ve dived into things and hit rocks.  Don’t think I haven’t.

But oh, when you find clear water and depths, it’s so very, very good.

1Please understand that I’m not saying people who don’t write professionally can’t be “real” writers. This is a phenominally subjective thing. For me, it meant making a living at it. It was my goal from the time I was in my late teens. If what makes you feel like a real writer is sitting down and, well, writing, then yes, you get to call yourself a real writer.

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