Many many years ago I heard the term “the writer’s life” so many times I think I started saying it in my sleep. I wanted to live the writer’s life. I imagined myself nestled away in some cozy office with bookshelves that stretched toward the ceiling, a high backed comfy chair, and a fire blazing in the fireplace.
In my vision, I sat and wrote to my heart’s content as my muse whispered in my ear. She never left my side –why would she when I was such a willing listener with a fabulous office? In my vision I also made tons of money from my books and never had to lift a finger to promote them.
Sounds pretty fabulous, right?
Well I can tell you as someone who does get paid to write, that my life bears very little resemblance to my vision. Sure, I get to spend the day in my office writing, but my muse must have lost her house key. My office is a mess and I have to promote my ass off. I was incorrect about what it meant to live “the writer’s life.”
The Writer’s Life is Unique
A writer does spend a large amount of time alone with their thoughts. We’re consumed by our stories, our story ideas, and our characters. Most people spend their free time watching television and hanging out with real friends – instead of imaginary ones.
Living the writer’s life means that you always have a notebook with you because ideas and inspiration come at the most inconvenient times. And when it comes, you are compelled to go somewhere quiet and to write it down so you don’t lose it.
We’re communicators, idea seekers, and artists. We crave connection with other writers and thrive on learning as much as possible about our craft. We consistently fight to balance our desire to hole away and write with our responsibilities and when we’re not writing life feels weird.
Living the writer’s life means balancing two worlds.
It means living in the real world and doing the job that pays the bills. It means taking care of your responsibilities before you take care of your passions. It also means honoring those passions and carving out time for them, even if that means you’re writing in the middle of the night as everyone else sleeps.
Living the writer’s life isn’t easy, but not living it is impossible. If you’re a writer, you’re already living the writer’s life. Congratulations and welcome to the club.