Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG: Get a Life!



Six years ago, I retired. Since then, I've spent between 10 and 14 hours a day on my laptop.  (No, I'm not kidding, and yes, my laptop has crashed and been renovated several times.)  Almost all of that time has been in the pursuit of having a career as a writer.  I don't mean "career" as in best-selling, mansion-living, famous author.  I just mean someone who writes a number of novels, gets them published, and has people wanting to buy them as opposed to desperately begging for sales.

I probably should have a lot more to show for it considering all the time spent.  But I'm slow and particular.  I've also wasted a lot of time trying to please others (like agents and publishers).

It hasn't been a total loss. I enjoy the creative life, love learning new things, and like to challenge myself.  I've met wonderful, smart, talented people.  I've also had the thrill of getting an agent and having a novel published.  But I'm still far, far away from where I want to be.

Maybe someday I'll succeed or I'll give up.  Maybe I'll stop spending every moment on my laptop and start to live a "normal" life.

Or maybe I'll just check the box that says "Remind Me Next Year."


Do you ever feel you're sacrificing a "normal" life in the pursuit of your writing career?



This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.

54 comments:

Murees Dupé said...

Sometimes I do think I am missing so much in life, but then I tend to enjoy my imaginary world so much better. I am feeling your pain, as I have been actively seeking publication, 5 years traditional and since last year trying to self-publish. I don't always see the fruits of my labors, but I hope to one day soon. Hang in there. I think you are doing a great job pursuing your dream and I know you will get there. Don't give up. Cheering for you!

Peaches D. Ledwidge said...

Congrats on getting your book in the hands of a publisher.

Aspiration to complete more books is there but I haven't given up "normal" life. I try to blance my time by posting once or twice per week, but when I have a lot to do, I do not post or comment.

Kate Larkindale said...

People are always talking to me about great shows they've seen on TV and I always stare blankly at them because I just don't watch TV. I don't have time to. I work and I write. And try to spend at least a little time with my kids. There just isn't room for TV except the odd episode of The Simpsons… But I don't miss having a 'normal' life. This life is my normal.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I do think of this sometimes. The blogging alone takes up so much time that could be spent living other ways. But I'll be here next year like you.

JeffO said...

I really don't feel like I'm missing much because writing makes me happy. Even when it frustrates me to tears. And this IS normal!

Vanessa Morgan said...

I also spend between ten and fourteen hours a day on my computer. And just like you, I'm slow (read: too hard on myself) and I wasted a lot of time on pleasing others.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I spend my work day in front of a computer and then more at night. I don't want it to take over my life but it does seem to be a big part of it now.

mshatch said...

Oh boy can I relate to this. I think that's why I'm so looking forward to my vacation in which I'll get to spend time with some people I love - away from my desk!

Melissa said...

I feel that way sometimes, but I've set limits to computer time, like trying not to be on it in the evenings or on weekends when the family is home. I also made enough from my debut to make writing a significant supplement to my income. As long as that continues to be true more often than not, I'll probably continue to write.

In the beginning, though, I wasn't so sure and set a limit for myself. I bought a block of ten ISBNs and decided if, by the time I'd used them up, I hadn't made progress and a reasonable profit, I'd quit. LOL

Thanks for visiting my blog.
IWSG #142 until Alex culls the list again.

messymimi said...

"Normal" is relative to what you want. If you love this life, it's the life for you!

Chemist Ken said...

You've got to do things at your own speed. I've been writing for over six years and still don't a finished story yet, although I'm getting closer. But I have to learn the rules, so if six years is what it takes, then that's what it takes. Just don't give up.

L.G. Smith said...

Oh, yes, this. I'm constantly online doing research, writing, and learning more about writing and the industry all the time. It is so time consuming, and many days I've let other obligations go by the wayside. But no one would second-guess a driven businessman spending that much time building his career, so...

Cathrina Constantine said...

YES!!!! I do feel I'm sacrificing a normal life, at least at times I do!! If I quit writing today, my hubby would probably be very happy.

I can barely stand to be away from the computer for a few hours. If I'm not editing, writing, promoting, which takes forever, I'm procrastinating on social media.

However, I'm not ready to give it up, but I should send myself out for a break!!!

DMS said...

I do enjoy the time I spend online talking with other writers and readers. I also love writing (which I haven't done much of lately because of work and the winter blahs). I think it is awesome that you are pursuing your dreams. It does take time and being picky is good! It also sounds like you have learned a lot since you first started writing full time. I look forward to the day when I can give up the day job and write. Like you, I am not expecting to make millions, but to be able to make a contribution to my bills with my writing would be a dream come true.

Happy writing! You are doing great! :)
~Jess

Michael Di Gesu said...

I did my first three years of writing.... I was so much like you 14-16 hours a day writing/blogging. INSANITY...

After putting over fifty pounds, I decided to take my life back. It was hard breaking away, but my health came first.

Now life is taking over me and I need to focus more on my writing and career. Is there a balance? I wonder sometimes. Spending all those hours writing didn't work and now I feel that I am not spending enough time. So here's to BALANCE....

I honestly believe we need to keep our lives balanced for healthy living, One should't have to give up one for the other.

I know I'm still working at it... lol.

Birgit said...

"Normal" is a relative term. I believe, strongly, that when one has a creative talent one puts in all sorts of hours into their work. It takes them away from the usual things people do but that artist would have it any other way. There may be times where you probably would love to just do the regular things but, in the end, you can't deny your creativity because it is a part of who you are

Jennifer Hawes said...

This past month, I feel I've turned a corner in my writing career. It feels genuine now. Maybe because I write everyday and I'm getting the hang of the writing process. I don't think your time is wasted especially if you make goals and adjust them as necessary:)

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

YES! a thousand times yes...I'll blow off time with friends to write, and last March I spent an entire month revising b/c my agent and I thought we had an editor match and we never even heard back a thing...this biz is brutal!

Julie Flanders said...

I do spend a lot of time on my laptop but I love it so I think of it as normal now. I love my online buddies as much as my "real life" friends. I hope you do check that remind me next year box. :)

Kai Strand said...

Heck yeah I feel like I forget to live life while I'm busy writing about it! I'm lucky enough to still have school age kids - that forces me to at least participate in their lives. I'm actually thinking of getting a part time job so that I can have something other than writing. That's kinda sick.

Happy writing!

Emma Adams said...

I sometimes feel like this... but I'm an introvert, and socialising always exhausts me! I do want to do more travelling, though, like I did as a student. I do feel like I'm wasting less time since I started self-publishing, because I'm not spending hours researching agents/publishers, writing query letters, and constantly refreshing my inbox. Luckily, I love writing too much to ever think of living any other way!

Stephen Hayes said...

I gave myself ten years to publish a novel, and while I managed to write three novels none have been published. I almost had an agent once, but that fell through. Yes, I've questioned why I do this but I can't seem to stop. The desire to entertain people with words is like a drug.

Rachel Pattinson said...

Don't give up, Lexa! I feel your pain at the moment -I have a full time job but I'm taking my laptop to work so I can get some writing done in my lunch hour, as well as logging on again as soon as I get home, and then staying on it for most of the evening. Lately, I have been finding it incredibly difficult, but I just have to keep reminding myself it'll be worth it in the end (I hope!). Saying that though, now that I've made the decision to take my writing seriously, I wouldn't change it :). Keep going! I'll be here next year too ;)

authorcgcoppola.com said...

There's this great quote that I think fits in nicely here "If your vision doesn't cost you anything, it's just a dream." I have no idea who said it, but I have it written on a sticky note hanging in my cubicle. You've got to work for what you want, what you LOVE and if that means sacrificing things (like a normal life) then it's worth it... isn't it? Only you can decide.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

For 15 years, I felt very alone as a writer. I thought I was weird. And then along comes the WEB and wow what a wonderful transformation. Not only am I surrounded by awesome writers, I'm not alone in my weirdness. Lexa, I'm blown away by how similar we are. Happy IWSG.

Chrys Fey said...

Writers do spend a lot of time on their computers. I definitely have sacrificed a normal life to write. I barely talk to my best friend anymore, which is a real shame.

cleemckenzie said...

Short answer: YES. But then what is normal anyway?

I just hope I don't look back and forget all the fun i've had, not only with the writing, but with meeting bloggers and writers around the world.

I hope I don't forget the exciting parts like selling a manuscript or seeing the first book off the press.

I hope I don't forget the exhilaration of typing The End to a story I really love.

Send me this comment when I'm finished with my writing life and back to normal. Please.

Cherie Reich said...

I wouldn't know what to do with a normal life if I had one. I'm quite happy where things are in my life (although I wouldn't mind more money). I see people with normal lives and although I sometimes wonder what that would be like, I usually end up pitying them. After all, I live extraordinary lives in my head.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Wow, Lexa!

["Do you ever feel you're sacrificing a "normal" life in the pursuit of your writing career?"]

I've never published, so I don't see myself as a writer, but as a blogger. What I write about are the things that are happening in my life, or those of friends and family.

Some days I spend a lot of time on my laptop, while other days I'm off in my private world... gardening, painting, and sewing.

There are so many things I love doing. I refuse to restrict myself. It all makes me happy.

It depends on what you want, and loving yourself enough to go for it.

Your post has me thinking of more... Good luck in all you pursue in life!

Andrew Leon said...

What's a "normal" life?
As far as I can tell, it's spending 40+ hours a week grinding through drudgery so that you can go out and "party it up" on the weekends before you go back to the drudgery.
That doesn't sound appealing to me at all.

Kimberly said...

I definitely feel this way when I'm trying to spend a lot of time writing. And I'll try to get out and have a little fun sometimes but then I feel like I should be writing. I guess we just have to do whatever makes us happy. :)

Dr. Theda said...

We did not throw away our "normal" Life to become a Writer... but have Thrown away the chances at a "Normal" Life to learn All that we could on topics that interested me....
... and all this accumulated knowledge dies with me....
So, have I "wasted" my Life...???

LD Masterson said...

Um, does this morning count? I was looking at a half-stripped rocking chair I've been trying to re-finish for ages and thought, if it wasn't for the writing nonsense, I could do things like that.

And then I went back to my computer.

Stephen Tremp said...

I'k taking time off work and love the time to write and do some blogging. Its a great place to be in. Have to get in exercise too. Can't neglect that.

Lynda R Young said...

Writers can't live a normal life. It's just not possible ;)

Jenni Enzor said...

I am trying to get more balance in my life. It's not the writing time I regret, but the endless accumulation of information about publishing that I sometimes feel like is too much.
I'm still plugged in, but I'm setting more limits for myself.
Because what can I write about if I spend all my time on the computer?
You have to have something to write about.

Denise Covey said...

Finding that balance is hard, but it's hard to beat hours at the computer. Yum. Great life, especially with a cuppa for company and all those lovely online friends. You've done very well to get a novel out there more than most of us who spend too much time blogging and not enough writing!

Kim Lajevardi said...

I feel that way sometimes, especially this time of year. But then I have a good writing day, and the creative side of me glows. I suppose there are other things I could be doing, but are they really any better?

I really enjoy the people I've met doing this as well. ;)

Cathy Keaton said...

I don't really want a normal life, so I'm okay with living in my head. I do want to be able to make a living with my writing, too, though. Hopefully, it will work out with some perseverance and elbow grease!

Tanya Miranda said...

I've come to believe my writing life is the norm, and whatever I was doing before was a farce. Does that make sense? I was chasing a career, buying crap I didn't need, only to keep chasing and buying more crap. Then, I discovered writing, I mean REALLY writing, and it made all the difference in the world. I don't make as much, no where near, but I am a tons happier than before. I like my new normal.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I don't feel like I'm sacrificing my life, but then I'm retired after 22 years of teaching. So, I'm in my second life, of sorts. Kids grown, just the cats and me. My time is pretty much my own. Yeah, the biggest part of my day is with my computer. I love it.
Congrats on your book. It's a good one. There will be more. :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I was saying (whining) about that today. If I spent half the time working toward the career I abandoned as I do in the writing world, I'd be making a whole lot more money. But then I think like you, I will do one more year and then re-evaluate.

dolorah said...

That an awesome comment box. Yes, please remind me next year :)

I'm not where I want to be writing wise either, but I haven't put in nearly as much effort as most do.

Medeia Sharif said...

I spend quite a bit of time at the day job in front of a computer, and then at home it's like most of my time is spent typing, either a WIP or for social media.

I sometimes wonder if I'm spending too much time for x amount of dollars and x amount of reviews, but I can't imagine not writing.

E. Arroyo said...

I can't see a way around the computer. I can't see myself not writing. This is my life. I do sacrifice time but this keeps me sane. I'm sure my family appreciates it. lol

Cherdo said...

It seems like everything I do is tied to the computer lately. I'm considering a desk that requires me to stand (no joke). I don't think they make a chair that I can tolerate for 8 hours - but that doesn't mean I don't work that long.

I'm reading all the comments for inspiration. :-)

Editors At Work said...

Yes, it seems I'm also doing that. I wish there is another way. Great post, Lexa.

T.F. Walsh said...

Strange, but I feel like my online life is part of my normal life now... they've kind of merged in a strange way...hehe I can't do one without the other these days. I sure hope you don't go anywhere... or I might have to come over to Egypt and track you down:) hehe.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Writing, to me, is a normal part of my life. My life would be out of balance without it. Having goals is great, but not if you beat yourself up over not accomplishing them. They are things to strive for, not things set in stone. Life happens. You've published a book. That's a HUGE accomplishment. I hope you can enjoy your successes and not let the "I'm not there yets" get you down. Never give up on what you love.

Annie Neugebauer said...

Um, yes. Haha. That's it. Just yes!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Definitely yes . . . I missed some awesome sunshine the other day because I was writing, revising, and frantically trying to market. Agh.
But today, I'm not going to miss it.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I definitely know I don't get out of the house enough since I retired from teaching to write full time. I had a number of book events in the fall -- which was fun -- but that came to a screeching halt over the winter. I am already booking events for summer and fall, but in the meantime, it feels like I spend way too much time in my sweats, in front of my laptop.

Loni Townsend said...

As my character Michael likes to say, "normalcy is relative."

If you enjoy what you do, then I say call that life your normal life. :)

Jocelyn Rish said...

Yep, I was nodding along to your post (well, except for the agent and published part - sigh), so I definitely know what you mean. For now, I'm going to check the 'Remind me next year' box - at least one more time. :-)

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