The life of a freelance writer is not a 9-to-5 gig. It’s not a day filled with checking off to-do’s either. It’s not a life of coming and going and Michelangelo-ing.” No one, other than other poets and fiction writers devoted to their craft, will understand your life at all.
Here’s a paragraph highlighting a formula for living if you don’t want to really succeed as a writer. For the past 30 years I have structured my life so that by all outward appearances I am a “normal” person (I don’t mean I am abnormal, set-apart, or special as compared to anyone else). I have tried to be “Kerri”…..Supermom, Superwife, Super-fit, Super Volunteer, Super Church Lady….by day, then slip into my secret phone booth by night with my laptop and create myself as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every second of my life and I have accomplished some very rewarding things, not the least of which are the kids I have raised who are my favorite people on this planet. I have invested myself in a marriage that I wouldn’t trade for any best-selling novel (unless I could be Tolstoy…have to think about that one). I have thrown some terrific parties. I have championed the cause of dyslexia and read thousands of pages to children. What I haven’t accomplished, though, are most of my writing goals.
2013 is the year of change. No more rushing around my home appearing to be busy because a friend is at the door,peering into my curtain-less windows and judging me for what looks by all outward appearances as a life of sloth and lethargy. For the writer Rest is Work. Writers must have downtime, and hours of unstructured, uninterrupted time. That’s why I never answer my phone. I can text. I can email, and then put myself smack-dab into the poem I am writing, but if I have to talk, I will never get the door to the poem to reopen for me so I can finish it. Not only do I prefer text and email, I am prolific at it. Prepare to read if you get a text or an email from me!
No more baking. I don’t bake. I also don’t scrapbook. I don’t watch much television. As for church, writing is my one and only true spiritual gift. I do clean, but only because I can’t work creatively in a cluttered, messy house. I am simplifying my meal preparation processes and calling that cooking. Besides, eating fruits and veggies in their raw state is healthier anyway. Have an apple is my go-to phrase these days.
I am also cleaning up my relationships. I no longer have time to share and share alike. I still value the importance of being a good listener, but if I refrain from the need to be southern and wax on and on about myself, it cuts all conversations (including the ones with the check-out lady at Wal-mart) in half. This change is a hard one for me. Someone give me an apple.
I am also streamlining my exercise routines. I no longer have three hours every morning to workout. I miss the social aspect of my fitness regimen, but I can see most of my fitness girlfriends just by hitting a couple of classes a week. On other days, I can meet Mr. Elliptical Machine for 30 minutes at lunch and the rest of my day I can devote to writing.
I am forcing myself to say I am a writer. Until I have the break-through publishing moment, my friends will probably still think all I do is sit around in my pajamas playing on Facebook. But I know better, and if I know better, what everyone else thinks really doesn’t matter. Each day I wake up and I go straight to the coffee pot. Then I perform my motherly tasks like making sack lunches and finding homework in a comatose state. Once the son and husband are on their ways in the morning, I set my mind on things above…as in reading my Bible followed by pursuit of my lofty writing goals. If any activity in my day doesn’t feed either my family or the afore-mentioned monster, I simply no longer do it. An apple a day…..