I wrote this on my Twitter the other day:
What’s it called when you haven’t blogged in a while because your freelance workload has happily increased?
Combined with personal projects (novel) taking up time, and I think it’s okay to leave one writing outlet alone for a while. Right?#writinglife #amwriting #freelancelife
— Rob Acosta (@RobAcosta) September 24, 2018
Now, even with 280 characters, (Thanks, Jack! Now can we please do something with all the Nazis on here? *motions to all the Nazis* I mean, come on now.) I feel like I didn’t summarize my point enough.
Because of my position, I appreciate and understand how lucky I am.
I am paid to write.
With no scientific evidence to back up this claim, in the minds of thousands of other aspiring writers I guess I’ve “made it.” While true, objectively, to me, I still have a lot to work towards. This blog, for instance, is supposed to be a catalogue of my journey to getting a novel published.
That’s still the overall goal, by the way. No matter how many freelance assignments or students I teach, the goal remains “Become a Novelist.” Big bold letters, blazoned across my forehead. “Write that book, sucka’!”
And this is hard.
I haven’t written my book in about a week.
I’m sure it’s a few more days than that, but in all honesty, I’m too afraid to open up the Word document and look at that little tab along the side which says “Where You Last Left Off” and observe it silently judging me, saying “You last worked on this book 9 days ago you sad, sad, sad little man.”
Please, let me know if this is a thing you experience. I would love to hear.
So what’s the solution? Just write the book, right?
Well, that can be hard when outside responsibilities get in your way. My full time job is private tutoring and that involves driving to student homes all over Phoenix. This means time spent unable to pick up a pen. Then, and this is the kicker, freelance writing work, which pays the bills, but is writing not at all connected to the novel.
In a sense, you ARE writing, but it’s not the stuff of your “dreams.” What do you do? What do I do? I lose time contemplating this and trying to find the answer.
I’ve seen a lot of writers talk about this. Most recently, DC Comics writer, Scott Snyder, Tweeted:
your career, meaning, you have a job that supports you, and then at night, or early in the morning, or on your commute, or all of the above, you work on your writing b/c to you it’s your career. Your friends will have jobs that are careers and you will feel shitty
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) March 12, 2018
If tell yourself you don’t have time to write?
You tell yourself to wake up an hour earlier, sit down, and write what you can until you have more time.
No time to write a blog?
Piece one together over days and assemble it as best you can. What does it matter? No one’s reading it yet. You’re not Neil Gaiman or J.K. Rowling, you know.
Spend a lot of time in traffic or commuting?
You have this wonderful little device in your pocket that can record voice-to-text notes.
I guess the biggest takeaway is “Make that time,” and what that really means.
You sacrifice, you give up time spent doing other things. Instead of rewatching “Parks & Recreation” for the 7th time, you jot down a few thoughts on ONE PAGE of a notebook about your story.
THAT COUNTS. That’s writing.
When your freelance workload becomes too much (and it will and you will count your blessings that you have a paid freelancing job), just find the time the next night. Writing counts as writing, and by getting your freelance work done each night, you’re proving you’re a reliable and trustworthy writer that can hit a deadline. That’ll come back. Karma adds up.
It all sums up at the end.
Just remind yourself of that. If life keeps getting in the way, find a way to make that pothole merely a speedbump.
Thanks for reading.
Check out mine and Arnie Bermudez’s webcomic, The Juan!