About a month ago I posted here about the important decision I needed to make regarding my career path.
Well, dear readers, the decision has been made.
I was offered the teaching position, and accepted it! I cannot in all honesty say I am certain about this, as I feel both excited and terrified. I’m excited to impart my wisdom and knowledge upon our youth, and make a decent paycheck—terrified I’m going to drown in busyness, and never have time to write again.
I also moved forward with the technical writing position, because why not? (I can think of a few reasons, but obviously I ignored them.) But it’s summer, and I figured I could do it for a couple of months and see how it goes. So yes, the test article went well, and they offered me more work. I have a Slack and ClearScope account now, and was just given my first assignment, which is three articles on foraging. The pay isn’t phenomenal, but it isn’t peanuts either. (I swear, some of the jobs I’ve seen out there offering like three cents per word kill me.)
Of course neither of these jobs fulfill my true creative passion, which is fiction writing. Yet when I’ve attempted to write fiction lately, I struggle. I believe it’s because I’m out of shape. Just like muscle mass fades with lack of exercise, so do the writing chops. And in the last 15 years I have done far more practical writing than creative fiction. I’ve written papers and essays for school, articles for the paper, content for websites, personal journaling, speeches, letters, blog posts. But only one short story and a handful of poems. No wonder I feel dead inside. (Not really, but a little, maybe. The creative well is long overdue for a good rain.)
The great thing though is muscle memory. And it works for both body and mind. There is some debate in the fitness world about whether it’s true or not, but I know what I’ve experienced with my own body, and I believe if you were once in shape it doesn’t take as long to get it back. The muscles really do seem to remember what they used to be able to do, and quickly bounce back.
Our brains also have a form of muscle memory, which explains how you can remember to do things you haven’t done for years, like riding a bike or playing an instrument. I believe it’s the same with skills like writing. If it was once there, you can get it back with practice. (If you’re interested, this article has more information).
Yet I feel with everything else going on, my fiction is definitely going by the wayside. And I have no idea how to fit in it because I have barely been able to keep up with anything, and feel like I might spontaneously combust. I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel come fall and back to school with a full time job. The anxiety is already hovering. I may have to learn to…
say no once in a while.
let go a little more.
become a bit more organized.
and remind myself nothing is forever.
I can stop the writing job at any time. If I’m completely miserable after my first year of teaching, I can quit. I’ve never liked tying myself down to anything really, so I don’t know why I’m starting now.
And while I knew it would be a challenge to follow my dream of writing, I may not have anticipated just how many road blocks would go up. Or how hard I would need to fight. Or how much energy it would require. It’s why I’ve given up in the past—not being able to find the time. Which seems like a weak excuse, given any successful writer knows it’s about making it a priority. If I want it bad enough, I’ll find a way.
As Cristian Mihai says, ”Punch the damn keys.” It doesn’t get more simple than that.
(For those not familiar, he is a blogger, writer, and the founder of https://www.irevuo.net/ which has loads of very helpful advice on blogging and marketing your business. I highly recommend!)
How do you find time for your passions? Is there something you once did you wish you had time for again?