I once thought that if I could write all day my life would be wonderful. In graduate school I got the chance. I wrote all day for graduate school, worked out in the early afternoon, and wrote some more until my wife came home from work. What happened was that I experienced an all-consuming anxiety that choked out my writing.
I have come to believe that writers should have another job outside of writing.
- So much time dedicated to writing caused me to be anxious about everything. Every day waiting for a response from an agent felt like a year. I was lost in myself and in my own self-doubts. Writing is a slow patient process and more often than not, the rewards come slowly. Now, I know that many writers write full time, but I also know that some of those writers have struggled with the lonesomeness and depression that writing full time can bring. I simply encourage a writer to work. Not necessarily a full time job, but some job that removes the writer from the monotony of waiting and constant self-introspection.
- Another reason why I recommend that a writer work, be it on her hobby farm, part-time, or full time, is that it allows the writer to engage with life. Paper is so dead and writing can be exhausting. Allowing your heart to experience meaningful relationships, even heartbreak, allows for greater depth and substance to your work.
- One of my biggest pet peeves in children’s and adult fiction are stories about writers. Writing full time detaches a writer from the real world. Their world is bound in the writing culture witch is not always so interesting. Working on something other than writing not only passes the time, allows for rich life experiences, but also expands one’s writing material. Writers should expose themselves to new people and new things. Have a hobby other than constant writing.
Allow there to be more than writing in your life. I guarantee that writing will let you down. Stephen King’s voice becomes all too familiar. Kate Dicamillo’s themes of animals, children, darkness and light, all the more repetitive. They will and should always be classics. Their voice will always be in our hearts, but one day, just as in music, the world will look for something new. Have something else that you can love. Invest in more than just writing. Even chocolate and ice cream can became drudgery when consumed in excess. Writing is no different. Fill your life with writing and life.