Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Writer's Work Is Never Done (Cough, Cough)

I still have this cough. This the end of the fourth week. And though I have not been seriously ill, and have at times felt just fine, it's not actually letting up.

And my gut muscles are sore from coughing. (I played bassoon as a child. I have a huge lung capacity, and I breathe from my gut, therefore I don't have trouble breathing even when congested, and I don't get sore ribs. I get a sore belly and waist instead.)

I know that there are many aspiring writers out there who imagine the life of a writer as being one long vacation. Something like reading on the beach.

I wish.

For one thing I wish I had the time to read that I used to have before I started writing seriously. I just don't. I need as much of my free time and brain space for writing as I can find. I have piles of wonderful, wonderful books that I haven't read yet. (I think several of them were acquired in the mid-1990's too.)

It's not that I'm tough on myself either. These high goals and all that are a cover. I'm lazy. But the muse is a harsh task mistress. If you try to screw around, you are haunted with ideas. If you try to sleep, you are awakened by them. If you're sick... too darn bad. If you don't at least scribble a note, you'll lose the idea, and trust me, you'll regret it. It's much better to send yourself an email fast if you're at work, or pause the sudoku if you're screwing around at home. (And if you're asleep, it's good to keep one of those pens that light up in the dark. I'm just sayin'.)

And with all those ideas, Time's winged chariot is always at your back. Kicking you. Or maybe biting you in the ankles. (Now that I think about it, I wonder if Times Winged Chariot is actually pulled by corgies. A lot of things about time would make sense if that were the case. Hmmmm, that's an idea....)

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, the Corgis'll get you if you don't watch out.

Writing is a full time job, whether you like it or not. If you already have a job (or have kids or any of the other things that life hands you to take your time an attention) you only have your time off in which to do your work. Plus, like any other difficult job worth having, you've got to put in extra work to get established.

Europeans think Americans are crazy with our skimpy two-week vacations. (And they're right - clearly you can't even get over a cold in that amount of time!) Being a writer, you never even get that.

But tonight the corgis can fend for themselves. I'm setting the cats on guard for the muse (I told them she was a rival "mews") and I'm going to finish my Poirot and get some sleep.

(Imagination can be a dangerous thing when you have access to Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. I know, I need to add wings to the Corgis... but please! I just thought of this idea just now this second.)

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